Detroit Lions: Kyle Pitts could fill a void left by Calvin Johnson

(Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports) /

In 2007, the Detroit Lions franchise changed forever when they drafted Calvin Johnson. Another generational talent took their skills to the Motor City, hoping to have a different fate than Barry Sanders.

Johnson, or referred to as “Megatron,” tallied an astronomical amount of accolades and records en route to a Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Lions. Six-time pro bowler, three-time first-team all-pro, and all-time leader in receiving yards in a single season, Megatron etched his name on a franchise for life.

These types of players come once in a lifetime. In 2021, lighting may strike twice. Maybe.

Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones left a massive gap at the wide receiver position departing in free agency. Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are a below-average replacement for newly acquired Jared Goff. He needs a game-changer. Kyle Pitts is that guy.

The Lions need to draft Kyle Pitts with the seventh pick, developing him into the second-coming of Megatron. Campbell needs an elite wide receiver in his offense; Pitts has the opportunity to evolve into one.

How does Kyle Pitts compare to former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson?

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The two players are nearly identical in appearance. At the 2007 NFL Combine, Johnson measured two inches shorter than Pitts did at Florida’s pro-day and weighed a pound less.

Their appearance is not the only similarity shared between the two athletes. Both players ran around a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash. Their broad and vertical jumps differed by less than a few inches.

The talk of Pitts’ pro day came after his wingspan of 83 inches became the biggest in NFL history. Fourteen years ago, Johnson’s wingspan measured an inch less than Pitts was.

Their most significant difference comes from their positions. Calvin Johnson transcended the wide receiver position to catch passes in triple coverage and a few other noticeable traits.

Kyle Pitts remains in the shadow of guys like Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Darren Waller playing tight end. The NFL Draft could mean change for the Lions and Pitts, as long as the stars align.

Is Kyle Pitts limiting himself at the tight end position?

Kyle Pitts is an elite pass catcher. That is not up for debate. Pitts acts as a magnet for quarterbacks on the field. He runs routes well. He utilizes his size exceptionally well when attempting a catch.

Goff dreams of throwing Pitts touchdown passes, preparing for his first year in a new system. The Lions’ current group of receivers are average at best. Williams and Perriman are not Golladay’s replacements. They signed to be used in supporting roles, not as the main attraction.

It is clear that Pitts has an elite ability as a pass-catcher, but tight ends do more than catch touchdowns. They provided a much-needed boost to the run, creating an open gap for the running back on occasion.

Football personalities across the league criticize Pitts on his weakness blocking because that is his only weakness.

Tony Pauline, a contributor of Pro Football Network, wrote a scouting report on Pitts. The only critique was to improve his blocking. Pitts is a once-in-a-lifetime player. Detroit has seen players like him unite a fan base until they ride off into the sunset unexpectedly.

Yes, many positions need upgrades before August. However, Pitts fills a massive gap at a vital skill position.

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