Lions set to draft eighth; recent history of No. 8s favorable

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford smiles as he walks off the field after the win over Green Bay.

Green Bay, Wis. — It’s not the way players and coaches are wired to think, but the Detroit Lions’ 31-0 season-ending victory over the Packers did come at a cost.

Instead of finishing with a top-five pick in the NFL draft, the Lions will select No. 8 in the first round come April.

While that may irk some fans, who have long since turned their attention to the future after the team was eliminated from the postseason a few weeks back, the Lions were never going to tank.

And even though the team shut down a number of key players this week, including wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Nevin Lawson in the 24 hours before kickoff against the Packers, as long as quarterback Matthew Stafford was under center, Detroit had a realistic shot of closing the year with a victory.

More: Lions' owner Ford: 'We finished in a good way'

Selecting eighth, the Lions should still have a good opportunity to fill a need with an impact play in the first round, whether that's one of the class' top cornerbacks, an edge defender such as Kentucky’s Josh Allen or Flordia’s Jachai Polite, or LSU linebacker Devin White.

The past five No. 8 picks have been linebacker Roquan Smith, running back Christian McCaffrey, offensive tackle Jack Conklin, edge defender Vic Beasley and cornerback Justin Gilbert. Only Gilbert failed has failed to have success at the professional level.

The last time the Lions selected at that spot they took Penn State linebacker Ed O'Neill, in 1974. He appeared in 88 games over six seasons for the franchise.

Behind the 8 ball

The Lions will have the No. 8 pick in the NFL Draft.

Here are the No. 8 picks the last 10 years:

2018: Chicago — Georgia LB Roquan Smith

2017: Carolina — Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey

2016: Tennessee — Michigan State OT Jack Conklin

2015: Atlanta — Clemson LB Vic Beasley

2014: Cleveland — Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert

2013: St. Louis — West Virginia WR Tavon Austin

2012: Miami — Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill

2011: Tennessee — Washington QB Jake Locker

2010: Oakland — Alabama LB Rolando McClain

2009: Jacksonville — Virginia OT Eugene Monroe

Draft order

Here is the NFL Draft order for non-playoff teams:

1. Arizona (3-13)

2. San Francisco (4-12)  

3. N.Y. Jets (4-12)

4. Oakland (4-12)

5. Tampa Bay (5-11)  

6. N.Y. Giants (5-11)

7. Jacksonville (5-11)  

8. Detroit (6-10)

9. Denver (6-10)

10. Buffalo (6-10)

11. Cincinnati (6-10)

12. Green Bay (6-9-1)

13. Miami (7-9)

14. Atlanta (7-9)

15. Washington (7-9)

16. Carolina (7-9)

17. Cleveland (7-8-1)

18. Minnesota (8-7-1)

19. Tennessee (9-7)

20. Pittsburgh (9-6-1) 

Lions 2019 opponents

Home: Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Dallas, Kansas City, L.A. Chargers, N.Y. Giants, Tampa Bay

Away: Chicago, Green Bay, Minnesota, Arizona, Denver, Oakland, Philadelphia, Washington