Still trying to make sense of the Ennis Rakestraw pick

Can someone maybe shed some light on the Rakestraw pick?

I get that you take the best player on your board but I had heard before the draft that Ennis’s score is much better in zone coverage than man coverage, I believe the numbers I recall were 85 in zone and 65 in man.

1 interception in his college career, 1 in 35 games.

He is also coming off a core-stomach surgery sports hernia surgery and a torn ACL in 2021 I believe.

So, not a ball-hawk, not good in man coverage, undersized, and has some injury history.

What am I missing here with this pick?

I’m sure Brad has a plan for Ennis, I’m just not sure what it is or what he saw in Ennis to take him.

Any insight or thoughts might help me buy into why Ennis is the right guy for us?

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Well I wasn’t his biggest fan pre-draft, so I’m probably not the best person to answer…

But, even when I gave my lower-than-consensus opinion on him, I always included the caveat “but Brad and the FO are gonna love him.” He’s a really good culture fit. So that part right there gives him a leg up.

As for the rest, I think it’s mostly ‘let’s get him in the building and see what we can do with him.’ His man chops aren’t awesome or anything, but there’s definitely enough on tape to think he could improve. So, we’ll see.

" analyst Daniel Jeremiah called Rakestraw one of his favorite players in the Draft.

“Rakestraw is a rangy, fluid cornerback who plays with energy and toughness,” he wrote. “He is physical in pass coverage and stays attached underneath and vertically. He is awesome against the run … he attacks blockers, including offensive linemen.”

According to ESPN: “He mirrors the receiver’s release and is smooth turning and running. He is instinctive, reading the receiver and matching routes in man coverage. And Rakestraw sorts out routes, splits high-low route combinations and tracks the ball well in zone looks.”

" Rakestraw plays the game with good physicality and a competitive tilt that defensive back coaches will enjoy. He’s strong but not as big or fast as teams usually like when picking within the first three rounds of the draft. However, he’s hard-nosed in press and has the body control and anticipation to play a sticky brand of man coverage over the first two levels. - Lance Zierlein,"
A CLOSER LOOK: Detroit Lions cornerback Ennis Rakestraw Jr.

" PFN’s Ian Cummings has described Rakestraw as a top-64 talent for this class, saying, “he’s deserving of consideration in the early-to-mid Day 2 range.”

Cummings adds how Rakestraw is prime for press-man and off-man defenses. He pointed out the big difference between him and Abrams-Draine in this regard.

“While Abrams-Draine was the off-man and zone ball hawk of Missouri’s defense, Rakestraw was the route eraser on the other side of the field,” Cummings said. “The two had a perfect yin-yang setup, and it was ultimately Rakestraw who funneled passes Abrams-Draine’s way.”

KEEP READING: Ian Cummings’ Full Scouting Report of Ennis Rakestraw Jr.

Rakestraw will draw high intrigue for teams wanting a CB to play man. The downside is his ball skills weren’t the strongest — notably because of having a lack of consistency with his tracking ability.

But overall, Rakestraw has positioned himself as a potential late Day 1 or early Day 2 gem for defenses seeking improvement with their man coverage. Outside of his size, he’s checked off the other needed boxes in evaluating cornerbacks."

Ennis’s game is likely to get better and better as he heals and finds his role. He is a team player who will play any role. He is a willing tackler and he has a great attitude. Really exciting pick to me. I LOVE Arnold and Rakestraw. I wanted 2 CBs LAST season and I finally got that upgrade in 2024. I could not be happier.


I do believe you just shedded some light.


So I guess I was wrong, Ennis was worse in man coverage than I recalled. His 56 grade in man coverage pushed the ball to the other CB?

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This was the other thing that kind-of went against BH’s trend as well…although it was said he was only 80% at the combine.


The good thing is our FO will have access to in-game metrics that either prove or disprove this level of testing, and the fact that we took him makes me think those rumors of him being at 80% are probably true.


His press man wasnt great but he was really good in off man coverage.

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I think the Lions rely more on “playing speed” demonstrated on tape and as measured by GPS.

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Ennis Rakestraw, CB, Missouri

Why people are concerned: His long speed and weight.

While the 40-yard dash may mean more for defensive backs and wide receivers than the other position groups, it’s still just part of the overall data on players. Yet, Lions fans have been burned by corners not panning so many times that anytime a corner doesn’t run in the 4.3s, he gets labeled “slow.” Rakestraw’s 4.51 40-yard dash at the Combine—where he was nursing a groin injury—drew a lot of negative reactions.

Rakestraw also checked in at 183 pounds, which has raised some questions about his ability to hold in the NFL, especially in run support.

Potential drop? He could drop out of the first round.

Why he’s worth it for the Lions: He’s still the same guy fans wanted before the Combine.

Holmes specialty with the Rams was the secondary. All the guy does is draft pro bowlers. Who the hell are we to judge especially with the CB’s we had last year?


It seems the tendency for Holmes is to double down on specific groups every year.

This was the year to get some young DBs in here. Having two young guys who can learn together also sets us up better for the future. With Davis in a contract year having two dudes takes some pressure off having to give him a big contract if he balls out

I also think they ultimately want to see Branch as S Rakes in the slot and Arnold outside. That way we get Branch on the field more. He and iffy patrolling the backfield and coming in on run support and blitz sounds nice…


Do you have examples of all these pro bowlers drafted while Brad was the Director of College Scouting in LA before coming to the Lions?

On a sort of related note…Anyone know if the league is still going to void Scram Suttons base salary?

I have a feeling that it becoming a misdemeanor and signing with the Steelers, the league is going to bone us on that

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I never watched him play in college other than his highlight reel. He does seem to play faster than his 40 time might indicate as his football IQ seems to jump to the positive pretty well, especially when sniffing out screens and runs. If it’s true that his metrics were reduced by his injuries then maybe we struck a little gold. Some had him going in the late first round and we got him almost at the beginning of the third round. I have to trust Dan and Brad at this point. Not saying everyone of their picks will hit, but they definitely saw something in him and they usually seem to have a plan for selecting certain players. I think it will be a good battle between him and Arnold as they should push each other moving forward. He’s got to be better than what we had last year and that can only be a good thing.

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Running at the Combine at 80% with a bad groin does not sound like something an agent would have a DB do. Rakestraw and his agent had nothing to gain by Ennis running anything slower than his best, especially if his film showed him faster.
As a prospect, unless you are going to post your best #'s, you typically don’t do any testing and wait until your Pro Day.

Here’s a pre-draft writeup on Rakestraw. I always dig this dudes content. He’s usually pretty spot on in his analysis. Credit u/thunderblessed63

“Rakestraw has been a huge piece to Missouri’s 11-2 success this past season. He stepped in as a true freshman starter back in 2020, then tore his ACL in 2021, and has otherwise started almost every game since then, other than a few games he was limited with a groin this past fall. Started a total of 34 games at Missouri.


  • Rakestraw is a tone setter for the defense, a rare find at the cornerback position. Much like Witherspoon last year, he leads the way with physicality and intensity in his approach to the game. Very active in the run game, and a consistent tackler.
  • Very twitchy player, with excellent short-area burst, quick to trigger downhill or break on the ball. Has a ton of snaps on film where he closes the gap to breakup passes very quickly.
  • Really good balance and feet in his backpedal and particularly in press. He operates his hands and feet independently, so can stay in good shape to press then open and turn.
  • Hips and overall agility and fluidity are very high. He plays a lot more comfortably from an athletic standpoint than the 7.18 RAS he scored from his Combine and Pro Day.


  • Torn ACL in 2021 plus a few games missed in 2023 with a groin injury gives some durability concerns. He’s also a very violent player but not terribly big, which furthers some of the concern.
  • Definitely plays too handsy at the moment, and is going to take some penalties early to corral his hands, which he flings at dudes regularly.
  • Lack of interceptions/ball hawking nature is somewhat noteworthy. One interception over a few seasons of starting experience. He swats some balls, but rarely is a turnover generator.


Rakestraw at this point is my top choice for the Lions with the 29th pick now that they’ve covered immediate needs at guard. For those who loved Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon last year, take a guess at who Rick Spielman, brother of Lions advisor Chris, compares Rakestraw to in his interview with him? You nailed it. Devon Witherspoon. And honestly, I think the comparison is quite apt. Both are firery cornerbacks who play with elite burst, fluidity, and physicality. He’s a near flawless fit for the field cornerback role, combining the best of what the Lions want in both the fluidity and coverage ability, plus the ability to attack receivers with physicality at the line of scrimmage.

The other thing I loved about Rakestraw’s game is that he stepped up in big time matchups. His best game this past season came against LSU, which boasts two first-round picks at wide receiver in that matchup. He’s fearless and really a nicely polished player. However, he’s not without issue or concern, evident by the reality that Detroit would be picking him 29th, not first or anything like that. Those are that he’s too handsy at times, and is also a bit of a face guarder, meaning some early PI penalties are going to come his way, and I think there’s some concern over his slighter frame and physical style, but injuries remain hard to project.

From an X’s and O’s standpoint, Rakestraw’s the best fit scheme wise of any prospect I have scouted to this point. He’s physical and fluid in press coverage up top, and even when dropping into Cover 3 (the Lions most common coverage), he’s got very good eyes, and trusts his instincts. He shows good range there as well, able to cover large swaths of his side of the field and carry receivers deep. I think he is best bet of this crew to become a Detroit Lion, and I have him currently as the 13th best player in this class. Again, feel free to take things with a grain of salt, my natural position is OL so CB is a different world in many ways. But I am beyond sold on Ennis Rakestraw…”

(Note: Arnold wasn’t among the analysis because the assumption that he wouldn’t be available)


Others have broken down him as a prospect… I’ll give it to you from the roster building angle.

He was a late 1st/early 2nd guy that we got late round 2.

He was one of those common “fits for Detroit” even player comped to Spoon.

He was experienced starter on a good defense 11-2 Mizzou team in the SEC that damn near beat Georgia and would’ve played in the SEC championship game.

He is 21 years old. CD3 is 27 and is getting paid like 13 million dollars.

We don’t need Ennis right away, but he gives us all the power in the world now when it comes to our starting CB CD3 and his contract / resigning/ comp pick next year.

The synergy coming from SEC to be with Arnold & Branch is a positive

Also, remember. We were using UDFA and guys off the couch, otherwise we would be in a Super Bowl most likely last year.

Now, our 5th or 6th option is a 2nd round CB (depending on Moseley I guess).


Well, that depends. OUR kind of prospect might do just that. Especially if he thought he would test pretty well anyway (like Kool-Aid). You could argue Cooper DeJean and Zach Frazier did the same thing - tested without being 100%. In DeJean’s case, he did well. In Frazier’s, he didn’t. But they know there’s merit to showing they’ll work hard to overcome setbacks and compete.