In an interesting development in a broad sense, the Detroit Lions will have Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett in for a pre-draft visit.
Most of the Detroit Lions pre-draft visits have been focused on the defensive side of the ball, but a notable prospect on the other side of the ball is coming to town. As first reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett will visit next week.
As Pelissero noted, Pickett is the only known quarterback prospect the Lions have had in for a pre-draft visit. At this point, he’ll probably be the only signal caller they’ll have in the building for a visit.
Pickett had a breakthrough season at Pitt last year to put himself on the NFL radar in a major way, with 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and just seven interceptions as he finished third in the Heisman voting. Hand size concerns aside, he is considered the most immediately NFL-ready quarterback in this draft class.
The Lions got to see Pickett at the Senior Bowl, albeit on the opposing roster coached by the New York Jets. Chris Burke of the Athletic noted quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell attended Pitt’s Pro Day, so the visit makes sense to simply get a total evaluation of Pickett.
Kenny Pickett is pretty unlikely to become a Detroit Lion
Pickett is a virtual lock to be a first-round pick, it’s just a matter of where he goes. No. 6 to the Carolina Panthers, No. 11 to the Washington Commanders and No. 20 to the Pittsburgh Steelers stand out as possibilities.
The Lions will not realistically take Pickett with the second overall pick. But if he somehow fell to No. 32, or a trade up from 32 lands on the radar, he might be an option and fully vetting him makes a lot of sense.
Are the Lions genuinely interested in Pickett? Possibly, even with remote odds they’ll have an opportunity to draft him. The quest for a quarterback of the future demands due diligence, and those remote odds are not a good enough reason to ignore Pickett.