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The student news site of Fenton High School

Fenton InPrint Online

The student news site of Fenton High School

Fenton InPrint Online

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NFL draft makes impact in Detroit

PHOTO Kavaun Gregory

Ever since 1936, the National Football League (NFL) has hosted something known as the NFL Draft. For the last 88 years, the 32 NFL teams have picked players they believe can help their team win in the future. Even though the number of rounds and teams in the NFL has changed over time, the basic rules have stayed the same. This year the NFL Draft was in Detroit from Thursday, April 25 to Saturday, April 27, and broke attendance records that no one thought could be seen. With more than 700,000 fans showing up to watch it live, here is how the NFL Draft unfolded for the top college players and the Detroit Lions last weekend. 

For the first time, the NFL Draft was hosted by Detroit. With the whole city being filled with fans all around, the Lions and Detroit were geared up to host the 2024 NFL Draft. Detroit was rocking with many cool sights, including a 40-yard dash game, trying on jerseys for different NFL teams, meeting players, and amazing food. With over 700,000 fans showing up combined for the three days of fun, Lions fans were happier than ever to see their city host the NFL Draft. 

This year in the NFL Draft, many top players included Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, and Drake May. Every one of those quarterbacks ended up getting picked in the top three. Williams went to the Bears while Daniels and May went to the Commanders and Patriots respectively. With pick number four, the rebuilding Cardinals needed a wide receiver to help their quarterback Kyler Murray. The Cardinals settled for Marvin Harrison Jr., who played wide receiver for Ohio State and was considered one of the best players available in the draft this year. Michael Penix Jr, Rome Odunze, and J.J. McCarthy were all also picked in the top 15 as all three led their teams to the College Football Championship Game last year. At pick number 15, the Indianapolis Colts finally took the first defensive player in the NFL Draft by selecting DE Laiatu Lutu from UCLA. With more picks coming in, the Lions knew they were getting closer to making their selection. 

Ever since General Manager Brad Holmes and Head Coach Dan Campbell took over the Detroit Lions back in January of 2021, their mindset was to do the process right and build their team by draft picks. Back in 2021, some of the Lions’ best draft picks were Penei Sewell in the first round, Alim McNeill in the third round, and Amon-Ra. St. Brown and Derrick Barnes in the fourth round. All four players ended up becoming some of the best players in the NFL. Penei Sewell who is still one of the best Offensive linemen in the NFL and Amon-Ra. St Brown who led the Lions in receiving yards last year with 1515 both contributed a lot to this gritty Lions team. In 2022 Holmes and Campbell got risky again. In a trade with the Los Angeles Rams for Matthew Stafford, the Detroit Lions added to their depth by getting Defensive End Aidan Hutchinson, Jameson Williamson, Josh Paschal, Kerby Joseph, James Mitchell, Malcolm Rodriguez, and James Houston IV. All six players still play for the Lions and have done better than expected, including Aidan Hutchinson who had 9.5 sacks in 2022 and 11.5 in 2023, and James Houston has been known as the ghost of the Draft ever since his rookie season. Then in 2023, the Lions might have had their best Draft yet by getting Jahymr Gibbs, Jack Campbell, Sam LaPorta, and Brian Branch. Jahymr Gibbs put up 11 Touchdowns last year including an average of 63 rushing yards per game. Sam Laporta also had an exceptional rookie season and was second on the Lions in receiving yards with 889. He also had 86 targets and 10 touchdowns. And Brian Branch who was supposed to be drafted by the Commanders at 16, fell to the Lions and ended up also having an exceptional rookie year. Jack Campbell put up a good rookie season for Detroit as well. Even though the Lions have had some busts, most of their picks have been spot on and that is what has led this team to be as good as they are today. 

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This year, General Manager Brad Holmes and Head Coach Dan Campbell knew that the Lions needed a cornerback. Knowing this, Holmes decided to get risky again and trade up to pick number 24. Once again in the first round, the Lions selected an Alabama player by picking CB Terrion Arnold. They also added Ennis Rakestraw Jr for a second corner spot. Holmes and Campbell also said they were excited after drafting Giovanni Manu in the fourth round. Manu who is a Tongan-born native says he looks forward to playing for Detroit and likes comparing himself to Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell who the Lions drafted back in 2022 in the first round. 

After ending their night on day three by drafting RB Sione Vaki, DT Mekhi Wingo, and OG Christian Mahogany the Lions feel like they have finally filled all the pieces to get where Detroit has never gone- a Super Bowl.

“The NFL Draft was very fun and I got to see Brock Wright and the surprising amount of tackles taken in the first round was really surprising to me including the Michael Penix pick,” freshman Evan Colville said. “There were six quarterbacks taken in the first 12 picks; it was a very fun, loud draft and the food was good and there were a lot of people.” 

After winning only three games in 2022 and starting their 2023 season at 1-6, the Lions have since gone 20-7 in regular season games and have shown they can play at a high level. After finishing just short last year, the Lions believe this is the team that is not just a high-level team, but one of the best Lions teams anyone has ever seen. Only time will tell how truly good these Detroit Lions are, but with the right picks and pieces in place, the Lions are definitely on their way. 

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