2024 NFL Draft Review: Detroit Lions

Review of all 32 teams draft, with grades and UDFA signings. This time it’s the Detroit Lions.
2024 NFL Draft - Round 1
2024 NFL Draft - Round 1 / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Previously we reviewed the Denver Broncos draft selections, now it’s time to take a look at how the Detroit Lions drafted and grade the picks. Which player was the best value and earn the team choice award, and who did the team sign during the undrafted free-agent period? Let’s break it all down.

1 (24): CB Terrion Arnold, Alabama

The Lions secondary needed fixing desperately and last year the team allowed 247 passing yards per game, the fifth-worst in the league. The good news is Arnold was arguably the best cornerback in the draft and the Lions felt strongly enough about him they traded up to go get him. Only one other player had more interceptions than Arnold in this year’s cornerback draft class, and his passer rating allowed of 50.7 is lower than Quinyon Mitchell’s. 

Terrion Arnold
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Grade: A

(Team Choice Award)

2 (61): CB Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Missouri

Going back-to-back cornerbacks tells you all you need to know about how Dan Campbell thought about his secondary last year. Rakestraw will likely get the other starting gig at cornerback at some point this year, but he has a slightly steeper hill to climb than Arnold. He’s fantastic in run support, he stays in receivers hip-pocket and he’s as tough as they come. With the offseason additions and with Arnold, expect this Lions' secondary identity to be physical, strong, and playing a boatload of man coverage. 

Ennis Rakestraw Jr.
Abilene Christian v Missouri / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

Grade: B+

4 (126): T Giovanni Manu, University of British Columbia

This is a guy that personally I got to cover quite a bit. He’s a giant human being at 6’7” and over 350 lbs. He caught the eye of a few scouts later in the draft process, mostly due to his production in Canada and also his sheer size. The issue is competition level. Sure, he looks like an over-competitive father playing against his kids. But how does he translate in the NFL? That’s what makes him a tough evaluation. One thing is for sure, Lions fans will find it easy to see him when he takes to the field. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears her signature Buff sunglasses as she announces Giovanni Manu, a
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wears her signature Buff sunglasses as she announces Giovanni Manu, a / Mandi Wright / USA TODAY NETWORK

Grade: C+

4 (132): S Sione Vaki, Utah

Safety is what Vaki’s position designation is marked as, but he’s a two-way player who rushed for 317 yards and scored five total touchdowns last year. He could play running back for Detroit this year, or at least offer snaps at the position. As a safety, he’s a sure tackler and lays huge hits on the ball carrier in run defense. He fits the defensive scheme in terms of his play style and mentality, the wonder is where he plays though. 

Sione Vaki
Utah v Washington / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Grade: B+

6 (189): DI Mekhi Wingo, LSU

This is insane value for Wingo this far into Day 3. Wingo was productive while playing at LSU the last two years and recorded 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks while also adding four pass breakups. The issue is figuring out what the plan is for him. The defensive line isn’t a huge need for Detroit and has a pretty well-stacked line with good depth. For now, Wingo is buried on the depth chart just biding his time. 

Mekhi Wingo
NFL Combine / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Grade: C-

6 (210): G Christian Mahogany, Boston College

The Lions add depth to the offensive line for a second time in this year’s draft. Mahogany is a mauler and fanatic run blocker, but he lacks stability as a pass blocker. Boston College cranks out good linemen and Mahogany is good. He has only allowed one sack on 752 passing snaps in the last two seasons he’s played. But he missed the 2022 season with a torn ACL. 

Christian Mahogany
Boston College v Syracuse / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages

Grade: B

UDFA Signings- 

WR Isaiah Williams, Illinois

EDGE Isaac Ukwu, Ole Miss

LB Steele Chambers, Ohio State

K James Turner, Michigan

TE Isaac Rex, BYU

DB Morice Norris, Fresno State

DL Nate Lynn, William & Mary

OL Bryan Hudson, Louisville

LS Hogan Hatton, Idaho

LB/DB DaRon Gilbert, Northern Illinois

S Chelen Garnes, Wake Forest

OL Duke Clemens, UCLA

WR Jalon Calhoun, Duke

Overall Grade: B