The Detroit Lions are coming off one of the most exciting and successful seasons in franchise history, and now they get to host the 2024 NFL Draft. Expectations are sky high after the Lions won the NFC North for the first time ever, gained their first playoff victory in Ford Field’s history, and advanced all the way to the NFC Championship Game. They were even one poor half of football away from a Super Bowl berth. 

Detroit made some smart moves during free agency to shore up many of the weaknesses on their roster. The team traded for cornerback Carlton Davis III from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and added potential starters in defensive tackle D.J. Reader, cornerback Amik Robertson, and right guard Kevin Zeitler. 

General manager Brad Holmes is now positioned to take a “best player available” approach to the 2024 NFL Draft. The Lions hold the 29th pick in the first round, as well as a couple of other top-100 picks and a handful of day-three selections. There are plenty of tantalizing prospects who the Lions may have their eyes on, but there are also a few who they should avoid. 

Here are three players who the Detroit Lions should avoid in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

T'Vondre Sweat, Defensive Tackle, Texas

Texas defensive lineman T'Vondre Sweat (93) attends practice in Caesars Superdome ahead of the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana
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T'Vondre Sweat is considered one of the top interior defenders in the 2024 NFL Draft, so it is reasonable to wonder if the Lions would consider drafting him. However, there are two big reasons why Sweat should probably be off Detroit's draft board. 

First, his recent DWI arrest. Off-field issues never help a prospect’s draft stock, and this is doubly true for a potential T’Vondre Sweat and Detroit Lions marriage. The Lions, under the new Campbell and Holmes regime, place a premium on a player’s character and fit within the organization’s culture. That alone might take Sweat off of their draft board. The team may also be extra sensitive to off-field issues after they parted ways with Cameron Sutton earlier this offseason.

Second, Sweat would arguably be a redundant addition to the Lions’ defense. The team already boasts D.J. Reader, Alim McNeill, and last year’s third-round pick Brodric Martin on the interior of their defense. 

Investing a high draft pick in Sweat seems like a mistake for Detroit.

Mike Sainristil, Cornerback, Michigan

Washington Huskies wide receiver Jalen McMillan (11) is tackled by Michigan Wolverines defensive back Mike Sainristil (0) in the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium
© Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Sainristil is a popular player to mock to the Lions because he would fill a huge need on the team’s defense and he played his collegiate career locally at the University of Michigan. However, using a premium draft pick on Sainristil may not be a wise choice for Detroit. 

While Sainristil does have some inside-outside flexibility, scouts agree that he is most likely a nickel corner at the NFL level. The Lions spent a second-round pick on Brian Branch during the 2023 NFL Draft, so it seems unlikely that they would double up on nickel corners instead of looking for help on the outside. PFF notes that his forced incompletion rate and first-down-plus-touchdown rates both compare poorly to other cornerbacks on their top 100 big board. This makes down-to-down consistency a question mark for Sainristil.

Keon Coleman, Wide Receiver, Florida State

Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman (WO04) during the 2024 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Keon Coleman is another local product, who began his collegiate career at Michigan State before hitting the transfer portal and landing at Florida State. 

He fits the mold of the stereotypical X receiver, a position that the Detroit Lions currently lack in their wide receiver room. As a result, some have speculated that Detroit may be in the market to select Keon Coleman with the 29th overall pick to solidify their wide receiver room with Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams. He may be a schematic fit with the Lions and a nice potential homecoming story, but that doesn’t make him the right choice for Detroit.

Keon Coleman exploded against LSU in the 2023 season opener (9 catches, 122 yards, 3 touchdowns), but he was never able to replicate that success again throughout the rest of the season. He struggled with contested catches down the stretch, hauling in only 33% of contested targets in 2023 per PFF. He also performed poorly in the 40-yard dash (4.61s) and 20-yard split (2.88s unofficial) at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

The Lions would be better served by adding a defensive player at 29 and attacking wide receiver on day 2.