Detroit Lions draft Alabama CB Terrion Arnold: How he fits, pick grade and scouting intel

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The Detroit Lions selected Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold with the No. 24 pick in Thursday’s first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. The Lions traded picks 29 and 73 to the Dallas Cowboys for No. 24 and a 2025 seventh-rounder.

Unlike his classmate and secondary partner Kool-Aid McKinstry, who earned a starting role as a freshman and spent two-plus years as a marquee member of Nick Saban’s defense, Arnold took a gradual path in his three-year college career before cementing himself as a first-round talent. After redshirting as a freshman and being benched after a 2022 loss to Tennessee — a moment he cited publicly this spring as a turning point in his career — Arnold shined in his lone year as an every-game starter, tied for the SEC lead in passes defended (17) and interceptions (5).

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‘The Beast’ breakdown

Arnold ranked No. 10 in Dane Brugler’s Top 300 big board. Here’s what Brugler had to say about him in his annual NFL Draft guide:

“Arnold offers an ideal blend of cover athleticism and competitive makeup, with the ball skills to make plays at every level of the field. He is scheme-versatile and has the talent to work inside or outside. He can be an NFL team’s No. 1 cornerback, offering a skill set similar to that of the Chicago Bears’ Jaylon Johnson.”

Coaching intel

What two anonymous coaches had to say about Arnold in Bruce Feldman’s mock draft:

“He kept getting better and better. He’s good at everything. I think he could play anywhere in the secondary and shine.”

“Kool-Aid (McKinstry) was the guy who the media talked about more, but in my opinion, Arnold is more talented.”

Why he’s a first-round pick

Arnold drew rave reviews for a media performance at the NFL Scouting Combine that reflected the competitiveness and confidence he shows between the lines. Those traits meshed with his ball-hawking instincts seamlessly during his extremely productive 2023, helping him emerge as a punishing presence for offenses that wanted to avoid McKinstry at all costs.

Come back for more analysis of Terrion Arnold later.

(Photo: Butch Dill / USA Today)

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