Detroit Lions Rookie Forecast 2024

Terrion Arnold Rookie Forecast FM

Solid Starter

Ennis Rakestraw Jr., CB, Missouri – Round 2

General manager Brad Holmes had his fourth phenomenal draft to help continue the building of Detroit into one of the top teams in the NFC. The Lions entered the offseason with a clear need at the cornerback position and Holmes doubled up with two very good prospects to provide Detroit some long-term starting potential.

For the NFL, Rakestraw is a smooth cover corner that is very skilled at not allowing separation. Rakestraw is a natural man-to-man corner that can run the route and blanket receivers. While Rakestraw does not have great size, he is quick and twitchy to run with wide outs to keep them from getting open. With fluid agility, Rakestraw can flip his hips and run with wide outs vertically and keep them from getting open downfield.

With quality instincts and ball skills, Rakestraw does not have to resort to contact to break up passes as he is patient, doesn’t panic, and does a nice job of slapping the ball away. Soft hands, instincts, and body control make Rakestraw a real threat to pick off passes and it can be very dangerous to throw his direction.

With his versatility to cover, Rakestraw is able to play off man, press man, or zone coverage. On top of being a well-rounded player, Rakestraw is gritty and physical. He plays with a real edge and swagger that seems to enjoy contact and delivering hard hits on the opposition. Rakestraw also is a willing tackler in run support that is willing to fly to the ball to make tackles.

The big concern with Rakestraw is being a history of injuries. He tore an ACL in 2021 and had sports hernia surgery at the end of his college football career. As a result, some durability concerns are legitimate. From a skill set perspective, Rakestraw has enough size and speed to be a starter but is not elite in either of those areas. He has some stiffness as an athlete as well.

Rakestraw was a steal late in the second round as he easily could have been a late first-round pick. In fact, some team sources of teams picking late in the first had Rakestraw as a potential pick if the draft played out in certain ways. The Lions benefitted from Rakestraw sliding and came away with a player that could be a solid starter in the near future.

2023: Jack Campbell, LB
2022: Aidan Hutchinson, DE
2021: Levi Onwuzurike, DT
2020: D’Andre Swift, RB
2019: Austin Bryant, DE
2018: Frank Ragnow, C
2017: Jalen Tabor, CB
2016: Taylor Decker, OT
2015: Laken Tomlinson, G
2014: Travis Swanson, C
2013: Darius Slay, CB

Most Likely To Bust


The Lions only had two selection prior to the fourth round. They entered free agency with two third-round picks, but their late third was sent to Tampa Bay for Carlton Davis and the higher pick was used to trade up for Terrion Arnold.

2023: Hendon Hooker, QB
2022: Malcolm Rodriguez, LB
2021: Ifeatu Melifonwu, CB
2020: Jonah Jackson, G
2019: Will Harris, S
2018: Tracy Walker, S
2017: Michael Roberts, TE
2016: A’Shawn Robinson, DT
2015: Alex Carter, CB
2014: Eric Ebron, TE
2013: Ezekiel Ansah, DE

Potential Boom Pick

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama – Round 1

For a lot of the pre-draft process Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold was viewed as the likely first cornerback to be drafted and looked safely to be selected in the top-20 picks. Multiple team sources from teams selecting in the 20s had Arnold in the running to be their first-round pick, so the Lions landing him at pick 24 was an excellent value.

With his skill set, the 6-foot, 189-pound Arnold definitely has the physical tools to play in the NFL. Arnold has quality size with good length to match up against big receivers. Along with having size, Arnold has good instincts and plays with good technique. Arnold has a burst to close when playing in zone and he is capable of playing press or off man coverage. Between his awareness, athleticism, height and length, Arnold has nice recoverability to make up ground if he gives up some separation. Arnold has quality route recognition and is smooth to run in coverage to prevent separation.

With big cornerbacks, a natural issue is stiffness but Arnold is an excellent athlete with real twitch. He is fluid and loose to flip his hips to run with receivers. His athleticism can be seen with allowing him to redirect and break on the ball over the 2023 season. In his third season Arnold showed impressive ball skills to make interceptions and slap passes away. His ball skills are a nice cherry on top for an athletic corner that could be very good in zone as a pro.

Arnold landed in a good situation for his own development. With veterans like Carlton Davis, Emmanuel Moseley, and Amir Robertson, Arnold will not be forced to play until he’s ready. That should give him time to adjust to pro receivers while also learning behind some quality veterans. Arnold also is a great fit in Aaron Glenn’s defense. This Lions coaching staff knows how to develop their players and Detroit’s front office has been superb at drafting talent over the last four years. Arnold has definite boom pick potential for the Lions.

2023: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB
2022: Jameson Williams, WR
2021: Penei Sewell, OT
2020: Jeff Okudah, CB
2019: T.J. Hockenson, TE
2018: Kerryon Johnson, RB
2017: Jarrad Davis, LB
2016: Graham Glasgow, C
2015: Ameer Abdullah, RB
2014: Kyle Van Noy, LB
2013: Larry Warford, G

Future Depth Player

Giovanni Manu, OT, UBC Thunderbirds – Round 4

The Lions got a potential steal in Manu in the fourth round. From a skill set perspective, Manu was a first- or second-round talent with overwhelming size, strength, quickness, and athleticism. The 6-foot-7, 350-pounder is a massive blocker that fits in perfectly with Detroit’s smash mouth style of play. The Polynesian Manu has a great example to learn from in fellow Polynesian Penei Sewell. Sewell is one of the Lions team leaders and quickly moved to take Manu under his wing.

In the immediate future, Manu could compete to be the Lions backup swing tackle behind Sewell and left tackle Taylor Decker. Manu could provide excellent depth and also could be an asset as an extra offensive lineman in short yardage situations. In time he could develop as a starter given his skill set. When Decker ages out, Sewell could move to left tackle and Manu could man right tackle for Detroit. That would give the Lions a pair of giant, athletic, and nasty tackles. Even if Manu doesn’t develop into a starter, he has the talent to be a good swing tackle backup.

2023: Brodric Martin, DT
2022: James Mitchell, TE
2021: Alim McNeill, DT
2020: Julian Okwara, OLB
2019: Amani Oruwariye, CB
2018: Da’Shawn Hand, DE
2017: Brad Kaaya, QB
2016: Miles Killebrew, S
2015: Quandre Diggs, CB
2014: Larry Webster, DE
2013: Devin Taylor, DE