Lions Host Kansas State Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett On Pre-Draft Visit
By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT - Continuing their investigation of the wide receivers and returners available in the upcoming draft, the Detroit Lions are hosting Kansas State's Tyler Lockett on a pre-draft visit Wednesday.
Lockett got into town Tuesday. The Lions called his agent last Monday to schedule the visit.
Lockett had previously spoken with Lions general manager Martin Mayhew and assistant head coach Ron Prince, among others in the organization, at the Senior Bowl.
"I think they liked my versatility, just being able to play receiver and special teams," Lockett said in a phone interview last week. "I know they already have a lot of other receivers that kind of do the things that I do, but sometimes you want a guy who can push everybody else so you can be there to make everybody else around you better.
"Just being able to talk to them, they like my game, they like what I bring to the table and my competitiveness," Lockett added, "and so that's all you can really ask for in a player."
Lockett has also visited the Cleveland Browns and has worked out with the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots. He has a workout scheduled with the Kansas City Chiefs as well.
Analysts project Lockett will go in the second or third round of the draft. He racked up 1,515 receiving yards as a senior at Kansas State last season, and he was named a consensus All-American as an all-purpose player.
An electric return man for the Wildcats throughout his four-year college career, Lockett showed his speed with a 4.40-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. That mark was fifth-best among wide receivers this year.
Lions special teams coordinator Joe Marciano has stated he wants competition for current Detroit return man Jeremy Ross, and Marciano spoke wistfully of game-changing returners. It seems the Lions believe Lockett could be that type of player.
While Lockett said he will be glad to play wherever a team can use him, he obviously wants to contribute as much as possible.
"I want to be able to help out in every aspect of the game, so whether that's me being on punt or whether that's me being on kickoff or whether that's me being in the slot, wherever they want, wherever I could be at to be able to help this team out, that's what I want to do," Lockett said.
"So if they start me off at special teams first, that's cool," Lockett continued, "but at least they know they still have somebody who plays receiver, they still have somebody who can play outside as well, they still have somebody who can not only return but can be on a punt and kickoff game as well."
* * *
There has been some concern about Lockett's size; he is 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds. While he knows he can build his body more to help allay some of the worry, he also plans to keep himself in the best shape possible by protecting his body.
"My receiver coach was like, 'You ain't got to take every hit. You can get down, get down and live another day. You don't have to be hit by five or six people if you don't have to,'" Lockett said,
"You've got to pick and choose your battles because if you get hit, they're paying you a lot of money, and they're not paying you money to get hurt," Lockett added, "so you've got to be able to learn to take care of your body and know when to take hits and when not to take hits."
Ultimately, Lockett can only build his body so much, and he certainly cannot make himself taller. For those reasons, the wide receiver will not be concerned if his size is the main reservation NFL teams have about him.
"If that's the only thing that they have against me, then that means I did everything in my power that I could," Lockett said. "At first they were saying, 'Well, he's inconsistent at catching the ball,' but I'm like, 'Okay, if that's what they have on me, I'm going to go out here and show them I catch the ball,' so Senior Bowl I went out there and caught the ball, combine I caught the ball, pro day I caught the ball.
"Every time they said something I always went out there and proved them wrong and showed them different," Lockett added, "so if the only thing they have on me is size, then hey, I did my job."
* * *
Lockett said he has learned from all his interactions with NFL teams. When he spent time with the Patriots, the emphasis seemed to be on how much information he could absorb and apply.
"Within four hours or five hours that I had to spend with them, he might have threw almost a half of a playbook at me that they might run in a game just to see where I was, if I was going to be able to go out and play if the game was the next day," Lockett said.
With the Browns, he underwent questions aimed at divining his level of commitment to football.
"They want to find out if you like the game or if you love the game," Lockett said. "You're giving people so much money to where some people just want to make it to the league, but you've got to find the ones who don't just want to make it but who want to be able to excel when they get there, and so they try to distinguish who just wants to get there and who wants to be able to stay there."
Lions tackle Cornelius Lucas, a former teammate of Lockett at Kansas State, gave the wide receiver a glowing review a couple of weeks ago.
"He's a hell of a player, hell of a teammate, just a hell of an individual," Lucas said. "Guy does it all, man. He can take the top off your defense, he can write you a poem, guy is just very talented, wherever you want to start. Probably one of the hardest-working guys – probably the hardest-working guy I've ever been on a team with, probably one of the best receivers I've seen in person before, probably one of the fastest receivers I've ever seen before.
"Overall just a good character," Lucas continued. "He's just one of those guys you need to have on your team. He's going to motivate you, he's going to do all the things that he needs to do to make sure he's getting his work done and stuff like that. I have nothing bad to say about the guy. I would be very excited if we drafted him."
for more features.