Ranking Lions' Last 5 First-Round NFL Draft Picks

Who was the best first-round selection of the Detroit Lions the past five years?
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Despite the struggles of rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah, the Detroit Lions have enjoyed relative success with their first-round draft selections the past five seasons. 

Tight end T.J. Hockenson, along with offensive linemen Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow, have all emerged as key offensive pieces for general manager Brad Holmes to build around. 

Here are my rankings of the last five first-round draft choices made by the Lions. 

5.) Linebacker Jarrad Davis

Drafted in the first round back in 2017, Davis signed a one-year contract to play for the New York Jets in 2021. 

Despite transforming his physique last offseason, the 26-year-old linebacker never gained the comfort level to make the proper reads out on the football field. 

In 2020, Davis saw the field for less than 30 percent of the Lions' defensive snaps in the 14 games that he played in -- his lowest amount of playing time since entering the league.

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4.) Cornerback Jeff Okudah

The ex-Buckeyes cornerback did not make as much of an impact on the field during his rookie campaign. 

Despite being selected with pick No. 3, Okudah missed seven games due to injuries, and struggled to grasp the complex defensive scheme of the former regime. 

Supporters of the Lions are hoping that the new coaching staff can tap into more of his potential, now that he is more comfortable with the speed of the game. 

3.) Left tackle Taylor Decker

Decker was rewarded with a four-year, $60 million contract extension prior to the start of the 2020 season. 

He has excelled at his position since being drafted in 2016. As Detroit looks to build its rushing attack, Decker is considered to be a cornerstone piece of the offensive line. 

"I personally think I had a really good year," Decker said at the conclusion of 2020. "I think I was one of the best tackles in football, and I wasn't going to say that during the season. But, the season is over now, and hopefully, that's something I can build on and improve upon." 

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2.) Tight end T.J. Hockenson

During his second campaign in Motown, Hockenson started all 16 games, and continued to showcase the skills that made him worthy of being selected in the top 10 of the 2019 NFL Draft. 

He secured 67 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns.

"T.J. (Hockenson) did some nice things last year, and I think his ceiling is even higher," offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said. "I know he made the Pro Bowl and all that, but he can play even better. And that was an encouraging part. I like what I saw on tape. He's a good football player."

1.) Center Frank Ragnow

Due to his Pro Bowl nod, Ragnow will be due for an increase in his fifth-year option salary, if a long-term agreement is not reached.

Ragnow's Pro Bowl selection in 2020 will net him a raise to $12.66 million, from $10.88 million.

This past season, he earned an overall PFF grade of 80.3, and didn’t allow a single sack all season.

He has regularly displayed the toughness and durability that Detroit's new regime will covet in future draft acquisitions and free-agent signings.

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