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POD Community Mock: Lions select Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC

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The Lions had options to bolster defense, but planning for the future at WR was too good to pass up.

NCAA Football: Arizona at Southern California Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After the coup of landing Chase Young at third overall in the Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft, the Detroit Lions won the second round of the draft by selecting the best interior lineman in the class in Cesar Ruiz. As we watched excellent players falling in the second round, the excitement for who I would take with the team’s third round pick at 67 was rising with almost every pick.

As those options started to fly off the board, it became a much more difficult decision as the idea of missing out became very real. In the 10 picks before the Lions were on the clock, we saw Bradlee Anae, who we all know the Lions covet, Josh Uche, Marlon Davidson, Malik Harrison, and Curtis Weaver come off the board. 10 receivers were selected in the preceding 66 picks. One of the best, however, remained on the board, and so with the 67th overall pick in the Pride of Detroit Community Mock, the Detroit Lions select Michael Pittman Jr., wide receiver out of USC.

After improving in each of his first three years at USC, Pittman was expected to break out for the Trojans in 2019, and he did not disappoint. Putting up more than 100 catches for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns, he was a reliable receiving option all over the field. While his yards per catch dropped significantly, part of that was due to an expanded route tree that allowed him to challenge different parts of the field.

From Relative Athletic Scores

While Pittman’s athletic traits will bring to mind an immediate comparison to Kenny Golladay, and his play style certainly fits that for many who’ve watched him, there’s another player I think you can look at and find a middle ground to put Pittman. Michael Thomas wasn’t nearly as productive as Pittman was in college, but they share a similar understanding of body control and an ability to box out defenders. So if you can imagine a halfway point between those two players, Golladay and Thomas, you’ll find where I think Michael Pittman falls stylistically.

“So why is he available in the third round, huh?” I hear you snidely asking with legs crossed in your lounger whilst stirring goat milk into your Earl Gray.

Well, imaginary skeptic fan oozing with snark, I would posit that he shouldn’t be available this late. It’s incredible to me that someone like Donovan Peoples-Jones, an explosive wide receiver with a ton of potential but lacking a significant amount of polish, would go before Pittman. I’m amazed that Tee Higgins, who is a similar size to Pittman but has the athletic profile of a potato, also went off the board with Pittman still on it. If I had been paying closer attention when I made the Lions second-round pick, I would have easily considered Pittman there (I had wrongly assumed he was already gone). To me, this pick would be the steal of the draft, and the Lions would be paying pennies on the dollar for a guy who could be a 1,000-yard receiver in year one in a scheme like this one.

It’s not a perfect selection, so don’t let me oversell it. There is some overlap with what Kenny Golladay and Michael Pittman do, so you may have to get a bit more creative with your usage to keep both involved (not something we’ve seen Darrell Bevell do much of). He can struggle to create separation at times (which, oddly, seems to be a thing Bob Quinn seeks out), and while his size would suggest a physical monster, you will find yourself asking yourself why he doesn’t dominate off the line every single snap. He’s certainly a possession receiver, but a very high end one, and with guys like Michael Thomas... existing... I have to wonder why the term “Possession Receiver” still carries some kind of negative stigma.

All in all, this pick would give the Lions a reliable fourth receiving option that would see a fair amount of snaps in year one. While that may not sound like much for a third-round pick, you have to remember that the Lions are set to lose literally their entire roster at wide receiver in 2021. So while Pittman helps the team only a little bit in 2020, he would be a starter walking into training camp 2021 and could battle Kenny Golladay (assuming he’s extended) for the team lead in catches, yards, or touchdowns in his second season.

One hell of a long term investment if you ask me.

Poll

How would you grade the selection of Michael Pittman Jr.?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    A
    (340 votes)
  • 39%
    B
    (289 votes)
  • 10%
    C
    (74 votes)
  • 2%
    D
    (15 votes)
  • 1%
    F
    (13 votes)
731 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How would you grade the Lions’ draft haul through 3 picks (Chase Young, Cesar Ruiz, Michael Pittman Jr.)?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    A
    (509 votes)
  • 16%
    B
    (106 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (2 votes)
640 votes total Vote Now

Editor’s Note: Thanks to everyone who participated and signed up for this year’s Community Mock Draft. Everyone was prompt in making their selections, allowing us to be way ahead of schedule the entire time!