Lions to have top-30 pre-draft visit with unique and interesting prospect

As the Lions fill up their slate of top-30 visits, a unique talent is on their docket.

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The Detroit Lions are starting to fill up their allotment of top-30 pre-draft visits. We know of four now, including CFL cornerback Qwan'tez Stiggers. But the latest to be announced is the most interesting to this point, with Justin Melo of The Draft Network reporting Wednesday the Lions have a visit scheduled with Utah safety Sione Vaki.

Vaki is listed as a safety in prospect rankings, and he has said that's his preferred position as he goes to the next level. And after how he produced last season (51 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, one interception, two pass breakups), that's probably where his best future as a pro lies.

But Vati lined up all over the Utes' defense last season (free safety, in the box, slot corner, wide corner). He also averaged 7.5 yards per carry as a running back last year, with 520 yards from scrimmage and five total touchdowns. He also, per Pro Football Focus, took 13 snaps as a wildcat quarterback (no pass attempts though).

Lions hosting Sione Vaki on top-30 visit may or may not be meaningful

With how many draft-eligible prospects there are, picking 30 to have in for pre-draft visits is not an action that's taken lightly. It's not a strict indicator of who a team will draft, but in this case the Lions want to get a closer look at Vati. They could certainly stand to add some depth at safety, which head coach Dan Campbell confirmed at the recent league meetings. Vaki also returned kickoffs in high school, which gives him extra potential value with the NFL's new kickoff format.

The Lions met with Vati at the Senior Bowl and they attended his Pro Day, so the top-30 visit is an easy follow-up to those things.

Vati could legitimately be a three-phase player in the NFL, and he did drills in all three (offense, defense. special teams) at his Pro Day.

In his interview with Melo, when asked about the kind of impact he can make at the next level, Vati delivered the punch line.

"I’m not a sub-package player. I never have to come off the field. I feel like I’m a perfect fit for offense and defense. I create mismatches on both sides."

Vati is projected to go off the board on Day 2 or Day 3 of the draft. If the Lions are in position to take him, they may have a hard time not doing so.


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