For the first time ever, the city of Detroit is hosting the NFL Draft. The Detroit Lions will make their first pick at No. 29 overall.

The Lions have drafted hundreds of players since the very first selections way back in 1936. Back then, the draft wasn't nearly as commercialized or successful.

There's common knowledge trivia for die-hard NFL fans about the first draft. Two of the first three picks didn't even play in the NFL, including the first-ever first-overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, Jay Berwanger a back from Chicago. The Pittsburgh Steelers even drafted a guy named Bill Shakespeare from Notre Dame with the third-overall pick. He didn't play either.

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Only two of the nine players from the first round of the 1936 NFL Draft played more than 50 games in the NFL. One of them was a Hall of Famer for the Chicago Bears, tackle Joe Stydahar.

But who was the first pick the Lions ever made, and did he have any success?

The Detroit Lions used their first-ever draft pick on a Michigan State Spartan offensive guard and defensive tackle named Sid Wagner with the eighth overall pick of the 1936 NFL Draft. Wagner was a Lansing native who stood 5-foot-11, 192 pounds. He was a consensus All-American in 1935 and played for the first Spartan team to ever beat the Michigan Wolverines in consecutive seasons.

Wagner played in 27 games over three seasons for the Lions before retiring to pursue a safer and more lucrative career in engineering. Even still, Wagner was by far the most successful player in the Lions' first draft class. The rest of the class was:

  • Chuck Cheshire. UCLA
  • Andy Pilney, Notre Dame
  • Sheldon Beise, Minnesota
  • Kavanaugh Francis, Alabama
  • Abe Mickal, LSU
  • Charlie Wasicek, Colgate
  • Dale Rennebohm, Minnesota
  • Bob (Choo-Choo) Train, Yale

Yes, Bob (Choo-Choo) Train is real.

Those other eight selections combined to play in a combined total of zero games in the NFL.

Detroit Lions First Round Picks since 2000

The Detroit Lions don't have a ton of drafting success to look back on, but the first round of the NFL Draft is always an exciting venture. At the very least, this list gets more and more pleasing as it nears the present day. These are the Detroit Lions first-round picks since 2000.

Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

Every 2024 NFL Draft Prospect from Michigan-Based Universities

Michigan-based Universities are sending 23 players to the NFL this year. They'll all be hoping to hear their names called at the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit.

Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

The NFL's Highest Drafted Players from the State of Michigan

From the Mitten State to the NFL, these players from Michigan were selected the highest in NFL Draft history.

Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison

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