5 biggest losers for the Detroit Lions after the 2024 NFL Draft

Coming out of the draft, these five Lions players go down as the biggest losers.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
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2. CB Kindle Vildor

Due to lack of better options, Vildor started at an outside cornerback spot and played basically every defensive snap for the Lions from Week 17 through the NFC Championship Game. An unfortunate bounce that led to a long Brandon Aiyuk reception in the NFC title game stands as the notable moment from that run of games, but he never should have been in that position to begin with.

The Lions backed up their veteran additions at cornerback this offseason (Carlton Davis, Amik Robertson) with the aforementioned double-dip of Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw in the draft. Emmanuel Moseley was also re-signed after a very truncated first seaon with the Lions.

So Vildor is now left to compete for a roster spot with Khalil Dorsey and others. He didn't play much on special teams last season, so at best he's an unknown quantity there. Obviously, providing special teams value is also a path to earning a roster spot when all else does not clearly exist.

It'd be quite a fall from (miscast) starter to totally off the Lions' roster in the span of an offseason. But that's where Vildor is.

1. RB Craig Reynolds

The Lions clearly like Reynolds, and he embodies the type of team-first, do whatever is needed player they want. But if the re-signing of Zonovan Knight wasn't a threat to his role as the Lions' No. 3 running back, if not his roster spot, the team's trade up to pick No. 132 in the draft to take the versatile Sione Vaki sure is.

It has become immediately clear the Lions like what Vaki brings to the table as a running back, and based on what he did when called upon at Utah last season that's well-founded (7.5 yards per carry, 18.5 yards per catch, 520 yards from scrimmage on 53 touches). On his top-30 visit to Allen Park, Vaki notably only met extensively with Lions' offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and running backs coach Scottie Montgomery.

Vaki is also in line to be an immediate contributor for the Lions on special teams, where Reynolds has been a core player the last couple years (47 percent of special teams snaps last season). Their physical and skill set profiles feel a bit redundant, whereas Knight is bigger and a more physical runner.

The Lions carried just three running backs on the active roster into last season. They could easily make it four this year. But if it comes down to choosing between Vaki and Reynolds, Reynolds seems likely to lose.


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