Mr. (J.) Smith's visit to Detroit

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith took what is believed to be Detroit's first visit by a draft-eligible prospect this spring. Smith is among a handful of candidates to be the No. 1 overall pick, but I wouldn't read too much into the timing of his invitation.

Typically, top prospects focus on preparations for their Pro Day -- the draft season's final physical evaluation -- before scheduling personal visits. Smith's Pro Day was last Tuesday. The other candidates for the No. 1 overall pick are more than a week away from their Pro Days. (See below for those dates.) So it make sense that Smith was first.

Ultimately, Smith could represent a compromise choice for the Lions if they decide that quarterback Matthew Stafford isn't worthy of the top pick. Most teams left last month's scouting combine convinced that Smith is ready to step into an NFL lineup immediately at one of the game' most difficult positions, left tackle. (He also was pretty chatty in an interview published here on the Lions' Web site.)

Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew has said he hopes to commence contract negotiations with multiple candidates for the No. 1 overall pick in the weeks leading up to the draft. Unless Smith bombed Monday's meetings, I would expect him to be one of those players. There is no telling what will happen after that.

Here are the Pro Day schedules for the other likely candidates, in order of date:

  • Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford: March 19

  • Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe: March 19

  • Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry: March 23