Recent NFL Draft History at No. 3 Overall
The Lions currently hold the No. 3 overall spot in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Obviously, with the trade-down opportunities, it's very possible that could change.
First off, there is always the positional value debate.
Anytime a team is sitting in the top three of the draft order, there are typically three "cornerstone" positions that carry the most value: quarterback, pass rusher and left tackle.
By looking at the last decade of the third overall selection, there have been four EDGE defenders, three defensive tackles, two quarterbacks and one running back selected.
As you can see, taking one of the top positions provides the most value if the player pans out long term. But overall, it's more of just a general rule of thumb.
If a prospect is talented enough at a relatively less important position, exceptions can be made.
Let's break down what type of player the Lions can expect to land with their pick.
2010 - DT Gerald McCoy
Selected a pick after the Lions took Ndamukong Suh, McCoy has been one of the best interior pass rushers over the years for the Buccaneers and Panthers. Despite him not being necessarily an EDGE player, McCoy -- an offseason acquisition of the Cowboys -- still provides interior pressure on the quarterback. In his 10 seasons, he has been to the Pro Bowl six times, and has been named an All-Pro once.
2011 - DT Marcell Dareus
Another defensive tackle that has the size to go along with crazy athleticism. When a man of Dareus' size can move as well as he can, there are not many offensive linemen that can handle the combination. In his nine seasons (split between the Bills and Jaguars), Dareus has been to the Pro Bowl twice, and was named an All-Pro once.
2012 - RB Trent Richardson
One of the biggest draft busts in recent memory, Richardson was out of the league in a few short years. There has been a couple of talented running backs drafted highly since Richardson. However, it's been because they are transcendent talents -- Richardson was not. His vision was lacking, and he didn't have the same explosion as the Saquon Barkley's or the Ezekiel Elliott's of the world.
2013 - EDGE Dion Jordan
If Richardson was the biggest bust, Jordan isn't far behind. At least Richardson had one semi-productive season. Meanwhile, Jordan has bounced around the league for five years -- with one season lost due to a suspension -- after the Dolphins traded up to get him in the 2013 draft.
2014 - QB Blake Bortles
Bortles never amounted to much, but did have some relative success due to the talent around him in Jacksonville. Now, as a backup, Bortles is out of the national media's mind. During his tenure as a starter with the Jaguars, there was a lot more jokes made about his play than people praising him.
2015 - EDGE Dante Fowler
As just a decent player, it's fair to say Fowler has never lived up to the hype. The Jaguars sent him over to the Los Angeles Rams in a 2018 midseason trade. Fortunately, for Fowler, he had his best season to date with 11.5 sacks in a 2019 contract year. He parlayed his strong season last year into a three-year, $48 million deal in free agency with the Falcons.
2016 - DE Joey Bosa
Outside of injury concerns, Bosa has been pretty dominant with the Chargers. Already being to the Pro Bowl twice in his four-year career, he has accumulated 40 sacks with 82 quarterback hits. Bosa's future is still very bright.
2017 - DE Solomon Thomas
Thomas is just another guy on a loaded 49ers defensive line. A bit of a "tweener," Thomas didn't necessarily have enough quick twitch to be a real threat on the EDGE, and has moved inside a bit more. Despite having 28 career starts -- only three in 2019 -- he only has accounted for six sacks in his career. He is a versatile role player. But, at the end of the day, he wouldn't be selected as high in a re-draft scenario.
2018 - QB Sam Darnold
Darnold was pegged as the next "Andrew Luck"-type prospect for a while during his time at USC. Being that he was selected at No. 3 overall, that wasn't the case, and he has yet to take the league by storm as Luck did early in his career. It's also very difficult to gauge just how good Darnold will be -- given the lack of talent surrounding him. He has had some nice games here and there. However, the Jets are still waiting for him to break into the upper-echelon of quarterbacks.
2019 - DT Quinnen Williams
Another Jets selection, Williams didn't have a dominant season by any means. However, he played alright for a rookie. When a player is taken third overall, the expectations are much higher, though. Important to note, Williams was recently arrested at LaGuardia Airport for gun possession, and is facing a felony charge. As bad as it sounds, it seems to be more of a misunderstanding of state laws than anything. Outside of the off-the-field issues, he still has a ton of potential. Given it's been just one year, the jury is still out on this selection.