Detroit Lions draft: All you need to know about Giovanni Manu

Giovanni Manu is the clear mystery man in the Lions' 2024 draft class, so here's what you should know about him.
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It wasn't necessarily a shock the Detroit Lions traded up to pick No. 126 in the fourth round of the 2024 draft, with no fourth-round picks at that point. The reasonable-looking cost (a 2025 third-round pick) was one thing, then they took University of British Columbia offensive tackle Giovanni Manu.

During the pre-draft process, Manu surfaced on the top-30 visit circuit. One of his 11 visits was with the Lions. According to Tom Pelissero, 10 of those visits came in the last 10 days of the visit window. Still, he was consensus-ranked as the 333rd-prospect in this year's draft class, and in a narrower sense some analysts had him as a priority UDFA or a potential seventh-round pick. So the Lions were clearly sold on his potential to trade a pick that will be somewhere around the top-100 next year to get into the mid-fourth round and take him.

And potential is what Manu has. At 6-foot-7 and 352 pounds, he is a massive man. He's also a massive project, coming out of a Canadian college. But he does have an excellent athletic profile, posting an 8.83 Relative Athletic Score (5.06-second or 4.96 40-yard dash, depending on the source, 33.5-inch vertical)

Lions 2024 NFL Draft: What you should know about Giovanni Manu

-Manu was born in Tonga and moved to Canada as a youth
-He played basketball in high school, averaging 30 points per game as a senior and earning the nickname "Baby Shaq"
-He was two-time Second-Team All-Canadian selection in college
-He played left tackle and left guard in college
-He is the first Canadian university player to be drafted in eight years, and he's the first ever drafted from the University of British Columbia
-Having grown up in Tonga, not far from Penei Sewell's native American Samoa, the Lions' right tackle was a role model for Manu.

"I look up to Penei a lot,” Manu told the Detroit media after being drafted on Saturday afternoon. “I keep studying all of his film. I think he’s the best tackle in the league right now. He moves so fluid for how big he is, and not just that, but he’s an inspiration to the Polynesian community.”

As expected, Manu dominated those he lined up against in college.

Manu is clearly a project, and with Sewell and Taylor Decker holding down the starting offensive tackle spots he won't be asked to contribute right away. Whether he ever justifies the investment made in him is a legit question, but his story is a unique one.

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