Lions' plan for fourth-round pick Giovanni Manu has been revealed

The Lions took a chance on Giovanni Manu in the fourth round, and their initial plan for him has been revealed.

It wasn't surprising the Detroit Lions traded into the fourth round, and the cost (a 2025 third-round pick) seemed reasonable. The surprise came when they selected University of British Columbia offensive tackle Giovanni Manu with the 126th overall pick.

Manu was a late-rising prospect, with 11 visits with teams and 10 of them took place in the closing stretch of the visit calendar. He is very athletic, which shows up on tape (for what it's worth) and in the testing numbers he posted at his Pro Day. He also played left tackle and left guard in college, so there's that hint of versatility as he moves to the NFL.

Still, until he proves otherwise, it's easy to tab Manu as one of the biggest reaches of the 2024 draft. There's belief in his upside, which the Lions clearly have, then there's getting too aggressive about. Brad Holmes broadly dismissed the idea of giving up future draft capital in trades during the draft, in a net-loss sense. But it's not insignificant that a top-100 pick in 2025 was given up to get into the fourth round for Manu.

Lions' plan for Giovanni Manu has been revealed

It's unclear what the Lions think of him speaking about it, but during an interview with TSN in Canada Manu revealed what the initial plan is for him.

"They’ve asked me where do I feel comfortable playing and I told them left side. That’s legit where I’ve always been playing my whole collegiate career, I’ve told them. But they’ve opened up to me and told me if I’m willing to play on the right side, because I feel like they want me playing next to Penei Sewell, is what they’ve kinda hinted at. I told them I would be open to it. They told me—it sounded like that’s where they’re going to put me at coming into rookie minicamp. I think they’re just going to rep me at the right side so I can get comfortable at it. It’s going to be a challenge for sure, but it’s something that I’m looking forward to do(ing).”

So the Lions want to try Manu at right guard, since right tackle is spoken for by Penei Sewell for the foreseeable future. I'll never forget what former NFL offensive lineman Artis Hicks said, to a writer covering the Vikings when he played for them.

To paraphrase what Hicks said about switching sides of the line, he told that writer to try writing with the hand he doesn't write with. In essence, everything is opposite. Footwork. hand placement, etc. will all be the opposite from one side of the line compared to the other, so the analogy Hicks used makes sense.

On the Donnie and Dhali show Monday, Manu further confirmed that right guard is in his future.

“I think the goal is he wants me playing on the right side, so that’s a bit of an adjustment since I’ve normally played on the left side. But I think their vision is they want me playing right guard next to Penei Sewell, which is an outstanding right tackle. If I could earn that spot and be right next to Penei Sewell, I think it would be the scariest right side in the NFL.”

So Manu will not only have the transition to the NFL, but he'll start out learning a new side of the offensive line.

In an interview with Mike Payton of AtoZ Sports, TSN broadcaster Farhan Lalji said he thinks Manu can be a starting guard in the NFL and would have been a higher draft pick if he played at a Division I school.

"I think they did not reach and I think he'll absolutely be a starting guard.' Lalji said. "I don't think they reached, like if this guy was at a division one school, he'd be a first round draft pick or a second round draft pick. There was enough buzz from about 16 teams that came to the pro day and the 13 teams that brought him in and a couple of additional teams that came out to UBC to work him out. He wasn't going to last until round six." 

Things could change regarding the Lions' plan for Manu, and he won't be asked to start immediately as a rookie. But to make his initial learning curve a step harder by switching his position is a weird double-down after reaching so much to draft him.

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