The People v. William Clay Ford Sr. Pt. 2

In the first part of our hopelesss case to have Ford Sr removed as owner of the Detroit Lions (see yesterday’s post here), we listed all the Head Coaches hired since he took over the team in 1964.  We had planned on reviewing the General Mangers hired by Mr. Ford, but mysteriously the page on the Detroit Lions website listing past GM’s has been deleted.  Have no fear, it’ll take us a little longer but we’ll put together the list on our own.  However, the list of first round draft picks is easy to come up with and we’ve followed the same format as yesterday.  Player name, years on team and the accomplishments of the player.  These are the players drafted from Ford’s first season thru the end of the 80’s.  The remaining picks will be examined tomorrow.

1964- Pete Beathard QB (third overall pick)- Never played for the Lions.  Was also drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL.  Had a career QB rating of 49.9.

1965- Tom Nowatzke RB (fifth overall pick)- Was picked ahead of Gayle Sayers (9th pick- Bears) and Dick Butkus (11th pick-Bears). Gained 1000 total yards in 5 seasons with the Lions.

1966- No pick (traded to Green Bay)

1967- Mel Farr RB (seventh overall pick)- Won NFL Rookie of the Year award, made the Pro Bowl twice and played seven seasons with the Lions.

1968- Greg Landry QB (eleventh overall pick)- Played for the Lions from 1968-78. Made the Pro Bowl in 1971 (the last Lions QB to make the Pro Bowl). Had a career QB rating of 72.9.

1969- No pick (6 of their first nine picks were traded away).

1970- Steve Owens RB (19th overall pick)- Played until 1974 when he was forced to retire due to knee injuries.  Made the Pro Bowl in 1971, which was his only good season.

1971- Bob Bell DT (21st overall pick)- Played three unimpressive seasons.

1972- Herb Orvis DE (16th overall pick.  Lions trade away 4 of their first 6 picks) Played six non-descript seasons without any postseason honors.

1973- Ernest Price DE (17th overall pick) Played six non-descript seasons without any postseason honors.

1974- Ed O’Neil LB (8th overall pick) See above.

1975- Lynn Boden G (13th overall pick) See above, but he only played four seasons.

1976- James Hunter CB (10th overall pick) Played seven seasons for the Lions and led the team in interceptions during three of those seasons.  No postseason honors.

1977- No pick (traded to Buffalo)

1978- Luther Bradley CB (11th overall pick) Played four seasons and had nine career interceptions

1979- Keith Dorney OL (10th overall pick) Played nine seasons for the Lions, selected to one Pro Bowl. Was offensive team captain for four seasons.  Credited as a key blocker for Billy Sims.

1980- Billy Sims RB (1st overall pick) Perhaps the first pick worthy of a first round pick during the Ford era.  Played five seasons (including three Pro Bowls) before suffering a career ending injury.

1981- back to normal…. WR Mark Nichols (16th overall pick) Six seasons, nine touchdowns.

1982- Jimmy Williams LB (15th Overall pick) Played nine seasons. No postseason honors.

1983- James Jones RB (13th overall pick) Bills choose Jim Kelly with the 14th pick and the Dolphins choose Dan Marino with the 27th pick. JOnes plays six season with the Lions and averages less that 600 yards per season and not quite as many touchdowns as Kelly or Marino.

1984- David Lewis TE (20th pick) Lions pass on Boomer Esiason (note the theme of not recognizing talented QB’s) and give Lewis three years to do nothing of note.

1985- Lomas Brown OT (6th overall pick) played ten dominant seasons with the Lions including five consecutive Pro Bowls.  Was let go as a free agent after his fifth Pro Bowl and played in his sixth the next season with the Arizona Cardinals.  Played seven more seasons after the Lions decided he wasn’t worth re-signing

1986- Chuck Long QB (12th overall pick) Played four seasons with the Lions and ended with a QB rating of 64.5.

1987- Reggie Rogers DE (7th overall pick) Two seasons, eleven games played, one sack.

1988- Bennie Blades DB (3rd overall pick) Played nine seasons including one Pro Bowl.

1989- Barry Sanders RB (3rd overall pick) Easily the best pick of the era.  Played ten seasons and made the Pro Bowl every year.  However, he left the organization saying that the culture of losing in the Lions’ organization was too much to deal with.  Amen Barry!

As with our list of head coaches, we find an organization that is unable to assess talent.  In the rare cases that they have found it (Brown and Sanders) the inherent ineptitude of the organization allowed for those players to leave.  In other cases, they tied their own hands by trading away first round draft picks.  Ford Sr. has always indicated that he is involved in the process of choosing draft picks and the results prove it.  Tomorrow we will show the recent trend to make poor draft picks.  Later in the week we will review the record of past GM’s within the organization.

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~ by toddc2001 on December 30, 2008.

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