Detroit Lions Double-Up on Cornerbacks with Ennis Rakestraw Jr.


In an unexpected move during the second round of the NFL draft, the Detroit Lions added another key piece to their revamped secondary. They did so by selecting Missouri cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr. with the 61st overall pick. This choice came shortly after the Lions traded up to snatch cornerback Terrion Arnold from Alabama, solidifying a revamped defensive backfield featuring newcomers Carlton Davis III and Amik Robertson.

Rakestraw Solidifies Secondary

The Lions have been busy this offseason, enhancing their secondary with notable additions like Carlton Davis III through a trade and Amik Robertson via free agency. The selection of Rakestraw, however, caught many by surprise as several highly-rated offensive and defensive linemen were still available. Brad Holmes, the Lions’ general manager, chose to strengthen an already promising secondary, adding depth and versatility with Rakestraw’s unique skill set.

Lions General Manager Brad Holmes on Rakestraw: 

You feel the confidence, ya know, me and Dan sitting there and talking to him, I just kind of felt dog exuding out of him.

Rakestraw, known for being one of the top man-coverage corners in this year’s draft class, brings a combination of elite instincts, aggressiveness, and a quick burst to the Lions. His impressive length and ability to effectively shut down opponents made him a standout player at Missouri in 2023. Standing 6 feet tall and weighing 190 pounds, the 22-year-old cornerback is not just a talented defender but also a strategic fit in the Lions’ defensive scheme. He thrives in press-man situations, demonstrates excellent balance, and isn’t afraid to engage physically, enhancing his contributions to run defense.

During his last season as a redshirt junior, Rakestraw started in eight of the nine games he played, amassing 35 tackles and four pass breakups. While there’s room for improvement in his footwork, his existing skills in route-recognition and hand usage allow him to mirror opposing receivers effectively. Under defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn’s guidance, Rakestraw’s strengths will be honed, ensuring he develops alongside a competitive group of players in the secondary.

Defense Makeover

With the draft continuing into its third day, the Lions hold additional picks that could address other areas of need, including wide receiver, offensive line, and defensive line. However, the focus on building an aggressive secondary has clearly been a priority, as evidenced by their selections of Arnold and Rakestraw. These additions not only reinforce the Lions’ strategy but also promise to make an immediate impact in the upcoming coming season.


For more from our Detroit Lions beat writer, Matt Broder, check him out on Twitter here: @mattbro21


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Original Photo Credit: © Jay Biggerstaff – USA TODAY Sports