Detroit Lions Final NFL Draft Grades 2024: Lions Continue Improving Secondary by Adding Terrion Arnold, Ennis Rakestraw Jr.

What do the Detroit Lions' 2024 NFL Draft grades look like? Did they do enough to stay in the playoff and Super Bowl hunt?

On the verge of an NFC Championship appearance, Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions are hungry to return to postseason play. What do their 2024 NFL Draft grades say about the way they used their capital to stay competitive? Let’s take a closer look and discuss.

Detroit Lions 2024 NFL Draft Grades

Round 1, Pick 24: Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

The run of quarterbacks, offensive tackles, defensive linemen, and wide receivers caused the board to play out perfectly for the Detroit Lions. When the time came, they were aggressive – leapfrogging NFC North rival Green Bay – and they scored my 10th overall prospect in the class.

Few mock drafts in the lead-up to the 2024 NFL Draft had Detroit taking Terrion Arnold, because few outcomes had him falling to this point. Arnold was my personal CB1 in the 2024 NFL Draft, and in particular, he’s an excellent fit for Detroit’s scheme.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Complete Results, Recap, Order, and All 257 Picks

Though he doesn’t have elite vertical speed, Arnold is an extremely fluid, hyperactive short-area mover who can suffocate WRs in press-man with his corrective athleticism and 32” arms. At the catch point, he’s a natural playmaker, and he’s the exact kind of support presence Dan Quinn and Aaron Glenn will crave.

With this pick, Detroit gets a blue-chip talent, person, and competitor – at a position where it was desperately needed.

Grade: A+

Round 2, Pick 61: Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri

After trading up to select Arnold in the first round, the Lions took Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw Jr. in Round 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The value and scheme fit aren’t the issues with this pick. Rakestraw is a good value addition at this spot, and he’s one of the better fits for Detroit’s man-heavy scheme with his foot speed, fluidity, corrective athleticism, and physical edge.

However, the Lions traded capital for Carlton Davis, signed Amik Robertson in free agency, have Brian Branch in the slot, and drafted Arnold in Round 1. This feels like a pick that could have been better spent elsewhere – perhaps on the defensive line or at wide receiver.

That said, if Davis struggles to stay healthy – which has been a theme at times in his career – Rakestraw and Arnold could form a quality boundary duo.

Grade: C+

Round 4, Pick 126 (From GB via NYJ): Giovanni Manu, OT, British Columbia

This is a sneaky pick for the Lions. Detroit hasn’t yet invested in the defensive line this year, but Giovanni Manu has under-the-radar value as a high-upside developmental offensive tackle. He’s very raw technically, but at 6’7”, 352 pounds, he’s an uncommon athlete with a 5.06 40-yard dash and a 33.5” vertical.

There won’t be immediate returns with this pick, but with a year or two of seasoning, Manu has starting potential at a premium spot.

Grade: B-

Round 5, Pick 164: Sione Vaki, S/RB, Utah

The Lions traded into Round 4 twice — once to add a tackle, and once to add Utah’s Sione Vaki. The Lions have a need at safety after releasing Tracy Walker, and Vaki could end up providing value with his explosive athleticism and willing physicality.

But Vaki’s angles in pursuit are very inconsistent, and on my board, there were several more versatile, more consistent safety prospects available.

If they play him at running back, they already had two quality RBs on the roster, and there were other more versatile RBs on the board as well.

Grade: C

Round 6, Pick 201: Mekhi Wingo, DT, LSU

In Round 6, the Lions got a top-100 prospect on my board. Mekhi Wingo fits the Lions’ personnel perfectly as a disruptive 3-tech who can play off of the gravity that D.J. Reader and Alim McNeill give off inside. He’s a sawed-off disruptor with elite attack explosiveness, violent hands, and the relentless motor to buoy a productive career.

Grade: A+

Round 6, Pick 205: Christian Mahogany, G, Boston College

Medicals might have pushed Christian Mahogany down the board, but he’s easily worth the gamble for the Lions in Round 6. The Lions have two short-term starters at guard in Graham Glasgow and Kevin Zeitler, but Mahogany can be an eventual starter with his explosive linear athleticism, overwhelming strength and knockback power, and domineering physicality on the attack.

He’s the consummate Lions culture fit and can drastically exceed his draft billing.

Grade: A+

Round 7, Pick 249:

Detroit Lions 2024 NFL Draft Summary

Lions fans can feel good about the latest class that Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell put together.

Terrion Arnold is a true blue-chip prospect at CB, and Mekhi Wingo and Christian Mahogany were two of the best value acquisitions on Day 3. Both could make a major imprint early in their Lions careers.

KEEP READING: Analysis and Grades for All 7 Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft

There were a few moves that felt redundant or forced. Ennis Rakestraw Jr. is a good player and scheme fit, but the 61st pick could’ve been spent on an EDGE or WR. And trading capital to acquire a potentially positionless hybrid in Vaki wasn’t ideal, either.

Nevertheless, the Lions had a successful stretch in the 2024 NFL Draft overall. And more importantly, they aggressively targeted weaknesses, with the intent of rising back to contention in 2024.

Final Grade: B+

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