As the Cincinnati Bengals show a turnaround can happen fast, a quarterback the Lions may get in the 2022 draft has drawn a comparison to Joe Burrow.
The Detroit Lions have of course won just one playoff game in the Super Bowl era, and the 30th anniversary of it just passed last month. Turnarounds haven’t come easy, or even really happened, under a trail of failed regimes. That said, for 12 seasons they had the most critical piece of the equation–a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford.
The Cincinnati Bengals had the NFL’s worst record in 2019, which gave them the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft and, ultimately, quarterback Joe Burrow. Now, they are headed for Super Bowl LVI against the Los Angeles Rams (and Stafford). Cincinnati serves as a lesson that tanking can work, and a turnaround can happen quickly with the right pieces.
There is no Burrow in this year’s quarterback class. But a few will still go in the first round, likely including Kenny Pickett out of the University of Pittsburgh. Off and on mock drafts have had the Lions landing Pickett with their second first-round pick, if he lasts that long, including the most recent one from James Fragoza of Pro Football Network.
There are concerns about Pickett’s hand size, and he has decided not to have his hands measured down at the Senior Bowl. He has chalked it up to having a double-jointed thumb that impacts an accurate measurement. But he also played his college football in the less than ideal weather Pittsburgh can offer, so any issue with his hand size may be much ado about nothing.
Kenny Pickett draws comparison to Joe Burrow
From a distance, Pickett’s late emergence as a legit NFL prospect parallels Burrow’s. During his Tuesday press conference, Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy went further to compare Pickett to Burrow.
“I think he’s already starting to in the interviews right now. He’s got a really cool way about him. Kind of reminds me a little bit of Burrow when I got to know Joe through this process,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said. “He’s just, guys gravitate to him. He’s a leader. It comes easy to him. So this is the start of a big week for him.”
Pickett is seen as a potential immediate starter in the NFL, and in a Lions’ light a possibility to immediately replace Jared Goff. If the Lions like him and take the opportunity to draft him (should it come), maybe he can lead a turnaround in Detroit like Burrow has done in Cincinnati.