Detroit Lions take Ennis Rakestraw at No. 61

The Detroit Lions added another cornerback in the second round of the 2024 draft.

Heart of a giant': How Rakestraw overcame adversity to become a program-changer for Mizzou | Tiger Kickoff |

Sitting with only one pick on Day 2 of the draft, and not another pick currently until pick No. 164 in the fifth round, it seemed possible the Detroit Lions would trade down to fill that 100-plus pick gap. But they stood pat, and double-dipped at a position it seemed they could do so at in this draft.

After trading up for Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold in the first round, the Lions took Missouri cornerback Ennis Rakestraw at No. 61 overall.

Grading the Lions selection of Terrion Arnold in the first round

Rakestraw missed the final four games last season with a core muscle injury he had been playing through, totaling 35 tackles and four pass breakups over nine games (eight games). He was targeted just 28 times in the games he played in last season, including just one target against LSU with their first round quarterback and two first-round receivers. He had an 80.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade last season, and a top-12 run defense grade among cornerbacks (89.0).

In 2022, Rakestraw had 12 pass breakups, 35 total tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss

Over the last two seasons, his 85.8 coverage grade from PFF was eighth among SEC cornerbacks.

There was plenty of buzz tying the Lions to Rakestraw early in the pre-draft process, which seemed to have faded in line with a drop in his draft stock after he ran a slow 40-yard dash (4.51) at the NFL Combine. But his skill set, particularly as a strong tackler and run defender, was always a fit.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah compared Rakestraw to former Lions’ cornerback Darius Slay.

Rakestraw said he had a top-30 visit with the Lions… at the same time Arnold did.

Lions draft grades: Detroit doubles-up on cornerback with Ennis Rakestraw

2024 NFL Draft Profile: Missouri Cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr.

If the Lions were going to double-up at cornerback in this draft, early then late seeemed like the likely combination. The first two picks would have been considered unlikely, but not impossible. General manager Brad Holmes brushed off the idea cornerback was an urgent need after the release of Cameron Sutton, but taking two with back-to-back picks.

After having to trot out Kindle Vildor as a starter and nearly an every snap outside corner in the playoffs last year, the Lions have made over their cornerback depth chart. Rakestraw is the latest addition, and getting him at No. 61 feels like another steal. The only knock on the pick is rooted in possibly addressing another need (edge rusher, offensive line, wide receiver) instead of taking another corner now that they (for now anyway) don’t have another pick for more than 100 picks.

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