Surprising prospect named 1 Lions should avoid in 2024 NFL Draft

The Detroit Lions seem likely to draft a cornerback, but they have been warned to avoid one in particular now.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It's fair to assume the Detroit Lions will take a cornerback in the draft later this week, it's just a matter of when. Luckily for them, and other teams who have a need at corner, it's a deep class at the position with a wide range of options depending on scheme fit, physical profile, etc.

There truly aren't many cornerbacks the Lions should outright avoid in the draft, with a nod to how their draft board is arranged and how specific players fit or don't fit what they're looking for. The line between those they'd consider drafting or they wouldn't take in certain spots seems sure to be blurry, with a decision made in some very narrow margins.

Surprising prospect named one Lions should avoid in the 2024 NFL Draft

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report has named one prospect each team "must" avoid in the 2024 draft. The choice B/R's Ryan Fowler made for the Lions' ideal first-round pick seemed liked a solid choice, but Ballentine went with Missouri cornerback Ennis Rakestraw.

"Ennis Rakestraw III is one of the more divisive cornerback prospects in this year's class. The Missouri Tiger is in nearly a quarter of mock drafts as a first-round pick, per NFL Mock Draft Database, but he's ranked 97th overall on our big board.".....Overall, Rakestraw eventually might be limited to the slot only. That's not a great outcome for a first-round pick."
-Alex Ballentine, Bleacher Report

After a lot of early buzz about him as an ideal fit for the Lions early, followed by a lull, Rakestraw-to-the-Lions at pick No. 29 has experienced an upswing in recent mock drafts. His prowess as a tackler and overall physicality bolsters the fit, and the notion that's he has a tendency to get "too handsy" (via B/R's Cory Giddings) is not backed up by penalties (three in 2023, according to Pro Football Focus, albeit in just nine games as he played with a core muscle injury).

Ballentine proposed Oregon's Khyree Jackson and Iowa State's T.J. Tampa as better fits for the Lions than Rakestraw. Jackson is one of my favorite cornerbacks in this year's class, and he's a Day 2/Day 3 pick.

There is case, based on everything (up to and including draft capital investment), that Rakestraw's college teammate Kris Abrams-Draine is better cornerback fit for the Lions. But to say they should totally avoid Rakestraw is a little aggressive.


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