Lions provide clarity on positions Giovanni Manu and Sione Vaki will play

It's not all that surprising, but the Lions have added some clarity to the positions a couple draft picks will play.

With a signficant gap between picks entering the day, the Detroit Lions traded into the fourth round of the 2024 draft twice. The first time was to pick No. 126, surrending a 2025 third-round pick, to take offensive tackle Giovanni Manu. A trade up to pick No. 132 followed soon after, and the pick was running back/safety Sione Vaki.

General manager Brad Holmes immediately extolled Vaki's chops as a running back, while lauding his ability to play special teams. Regardless, arguably the most versatile prospect in the entire draft will see the field in some capacity right away.

Manu, out of the University of British Columbia, is more a project who ideally will become a starter on the Lions offensive line. The initial plan for him to work as a guard (right guard) was revealed, which felt less than ideal for his immediate learning curve.

Manu and Vaki were on the field for the first day of Lions' rookie minicamp on Friday. Both were noticeable during drills (h/t to Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire), for mostly good reasons.

Ray Agnew clarifies where Giovanni Manu and Sione Vaki will play

Manu worked at tackle on Friday, which confirms what Agnew said before practice (via Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit).

“What better place to come and learn how to be an offensive tackle in the National Football League than playing behind Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker?” Agnew said. “You’ve got time to learn and then be coached by Hank Fraley."
"We’ll cross-train a lot of guys. We’ll cross-train him at guard and tackle,” Agnew said. ‘That’s what we’ll discuss with Dan (Campbell), Ben (Johnson), and Hank (Fraley), and me. But we’ll do a lot of that cross-training at guard and tackle. But he can do both. He can bend well enough to play guard, and he’s athletic and long enough to play tackle.”

As for Vaki, Agnew echoed Holmes like he did on another topic.

"We see him as a running back. Our coaches will decide how to deal with him.”

Vaki is lined up to be an immediate contributor on special teams, possibly as a kickoff returner as well as coverage units, and he thinks the new kickoff rule will allow him to put those skills on display.

"I think it's really fun. It brings a lot of life back to special teams, and then I feel like it puts my skill set out there to be able to show the team that I can execute on special teams."

Manu and Vaki filled what would have been a big gap in Lions' picks on Day 3 of the draft. Where things go from there for them is unknown, but their first day on an NFL practice field is in the books.


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