Skip to main content

Draft Coverage

O'HARA: A history of who's been available at 6

As the history of the last 10 draft classes has shown, the Detroit Lions can benefit from having the sixth pick in the draft to continue adding talented prospects to build their roster.

Teams have used the sixth pick in the last two seasons to add a broad spectrum of players, from quarterbacks and skilled position players to linemen on both sides of the ball to win battles in the trenches.

The Lions acquired this year's sixth pick in the draft through a trade that sent quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021. It's a prime position for the Lions, to go with the 18th pick in the first round the Lions get for finishing with a 9-8 win-loss record.

General manager Brad Holmes has made substantial upgrades to the roster in the last two years. Having two first-round picks for the second straight year should help continue that process.

Following is how teams fared with the sixth pick in the last 10 drafts:

2022: T Ikem Ekwonu, N.C. State, by Panthers.

Highlights: The first of three offensive linemen drafted in the top 10, Ekwonu started all 17 games and played every snap. A solid pick for the present and future.

Bottom line: A quality pick.

View photos of Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff, center Frank Ragnow, tackle Penei Sewell and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown at the 2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games.

2021: WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama, by Dolphins.

Highlights: One of three wide receivers taken in the top 10, Waddle is a big-play receiver who had totals of 104 and 75 receptions his first two years and 18.1 yards per catch in 2022.

Bottom line: A quality pick.

2020: QB Justin Herbert, Oregon, by Chargers.

Highlights: The third QB drafted, behind Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. Started every game except two in three seasons, Herbert is an accurate quarterback who got his team to the playoffs in his third season.

Bottom line: Chargers picked a franchise-level QB.

2019: QB Daniel Jones, Duke, by Giants.

Highlights: An athletic QB who developed into a quality starter in his fourth season and led the Giants to the playoffs.

Bottom line: Pass-rushing LB Josh Allen went to the Jaguars at No. 7, and DT Ed Oliver to the Bills at No. 9. Both would be good picks for the Lions at No. 6. They were not looking for a QB.

2018: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame, by Colts.

Highlights: All-Pro three times and a Pro Bowler all five seasons. A player of Nelson's quality would add another building block to an offensive line that is already good.

Bottom line: Nelson was the right pick at the time for the Colts. QB Josh Allen went to the Bills at No. 7 and LB Roquan Smith to the Bears at No. 8. Three quality picks in a row.

2017: S Jamal Adams, LSU, by Jets.

Highlights: Played three seasons with the Jets, then three with the Seahawks after a trade. Made All-Pro once and three Pro Bowls. Limited to one game in 2022 because of an injury.

Bottom line: A good pick by the Jets, but Adams forced a trade after three seasons. The next two players taken – WR Mike Williams and RB Christian McCaffrey – would have been quality picks.

2016: T Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame, by Ravens.

Highlights: In the year that quarterback Jared Goff was drafted first overall, Stanley was the first offensive lineman off the board and one of two taken in the top 12. (Jack Conklin was second). A full-time starter when healthy and All-Pro in 2019. Stanley has missed 31 games in the last three seasons.

Bottom line: The Lions got a better tackle at No. 16 – Taylor Decker.

2015: DL Leonard Williams, USC, by Jets.

Highlights: Productive, durable and versatile – qualities of how the Lions rotate their linemen. The Jets traded Williams to the Giants during the 2019 season.

Bottom line: New York, New York -- Williams was a solid player for both teams.

2014: T Jake Matthews, Texas A&M, by Falcons.

Highlights: Steady as they come, Matthews missed one game as a rookie and played and started every other game – 145 of 146.

Bottom line: Most of the best starters were taken after the top 10 -- Aaron Donald among them.

2013: DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU, by Browns.

Highlights: Had 12.5 career sacks for six teams. After three seasons with Cleveland, Mingo played for five different teams in five years.

Bottom line: Did not live up to his draft status. But Ezekiel Ansah, drafted one pick before Mingo, did except for injuries. That was a knockout draft win for the Lions.

Related Content