We’re getting so close to the 2021 NFL Draft. We’re officially a week away. So while every writer from here to Timbuktu is writing player profiles, like the one I did on Jaylen Waddle earlier this week, and I’m making fun of sketches, it’s time to think about things at which no one cares about. It’s time to do what I do best. Random thoughts on past events that have no influence on the future. It’s fun for me.
Given this, the Lions have the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft, so I thought it would be nice to look back at the history of the team with the seventh pick and see how they went. Perhaps looking at their past could provide some tiny clues as to whether the Lions are heading for the seventh heaven or the seventh circle of hell. Let’s jump right into it.
1937: Lloyd Cardwell
The lions had been lions for only one season at the time. They needed a midfielder because that’s what the whole team did then. They led the ball like 90% of high school football teams. Cardwell sat at the University of Nebraska, doing Charleston and listening to the hit song that broke out in all the winter clubs.
He then received a call to the 1937 National Football League draft and lunch at the Lincoln Hotel in New York. Yes, I added lunch. It just makes sense to me that the NFL was so small at the time that they dined in the middle of the project. Probably a cooked goose or something.
Cardwell played for the Lions for seven years and was a pretty decent player. He represented 1,837 yards for all purposes and 13 touchdowns in that time. So basically, what Derrick Henry does in the middle of the season. Still, it’s not bad. The biggest claim to Cardwell’s fame is that he was named the NFL All-Star in 1938. After leaving the Lions, he coached at the University of Omaha and even led them to a 10-0 season and won the Tangerine Bowl.
1939: John Pingel
The Lions were ahead of their time in 1939. They tried to be the first team in the NFL team to be built with nothing but midfielders. This time they took a boy from his hometown to John Pingel in Michigan.
Pingel didn’t spend much time in Detroit. You see, children, at that time professional athletes were paid as part-time workers. I don’t mean part-time like “Jimmy only works four hours a day,” I mean part-time like “Jimmy works two hours Saturday morning and that’s it.”
Seriously. The first overall pick in the NFL’s first draft just three years before, he never played in the NFL. He was offered $ 125 – $ 150 per game and decided to go to work as a foam rubber seller.
Pingel stayed for nine matches and retired from football. He will later be the CEO of a major advertising company.
1967: Mel Farr
Who doesn’t love Mel Farr Superstar? My parents loved him when they rented a Ford Explorer from him in the 1990s. Marvin Gaye loved him so much that he let him and Lem’s teammate Lem Barney play a backup on one of the greatest songs of all time, What’s Going On? Detroit loved Mell Far, and Mel Farr loved Detroit.
Farr played for the Lions for seven seasons and made a big impact. He won the 1967 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and made the Pro Bowl twice and the All Pro once.
1987: Reggie Rogers
This is the height of sad stories. Some players lacked talent and eventually broke out. That was not the case with Rogers. He was a great player at the University of Washington. He was All-American and won the Morris Trophy for being the best lineman in the country.
Once in the NFL, he struggled with emotional issues in his freshman year and spent some time in a counseling center after his older brother died of an overdose just 10 months before the draft. In the second season, he collided with a car while intoxicated, killed three teenagers and broke his neck. The lions gave him up and spent a year in prison.
Rogers’ struggle with alcoholism saw him deal with many legal issues and eventually contributed to the end of his life at the age of 49.
1990: Andre Ware
Widely regarded as one of the greatest busts in the history of the NFL draft, the Lions took the winner of the Heisman Trophy, Andre Ware, with the seventh choice. Four years and 14 games later, he left the league. Ware just didn’t realize it. Maybe because he didn’t have the talent or maybe because the lions treated him like Darko Milicic and never played him.
The best year of his career with the Lions was in 1996, when he threw 590 meters, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. It’s not too bad. Wait, this is with BC Lions in the CFL. My mistake.
2004: Roy Williams
This is. This was the last time the lions had a seventh choice. They took a receiver, just like this year.
Williams had a lot of hype in Texas. In fact, it was a decent receiver for a minute. In 2006, he was a Pro Bowler and led NFC in reception yards. If he had ended his career right there, it would have been a success.
As we all know, he will never reach that height again. Perhaps the biggest thing he did in his NFL career was to make Cowboys owner Jerry Jones look bad because he gave up the Lions for the first rounds, the third round and the sixth round. Whenever you can make the bad guy from The Last Boy Scout look bad, it’s a win-win. The Lions turned that first-round pick into eight productive years for Brandon Pettigrew. Not too shabby.