Lions trade up in first round of NFL draft, take Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold

Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold poses after being chosen by the Detroit Lions with the 24th overall pick during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

By Associated Press

April 26, 2024

ALLEN PARK—The Detroit Lions made a move to address their secondary, grabbing Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold with the No. 24 pick in the NFL draft after a trade with Dallas on Thursday night.

The Lions moved up from the No. 29 spot. Detroit also received a 2025 seventh-round pick, while the Cowboys received Detroit’s first-rounder plus a third-round pick in this year’s draft (73rd overall).

Detroit had acquired that third-rounder from Minnesota in a previous trade.

Arnold was a first-team Associated Press All-American last season. He tied for sixth in the Football Bowl Subdivision with five interceptions and tied for fifth with 17 passes defensed while starting all 14 games for the Crimson Tide.

The 6-foot, 189-pound Arnold was the second cornerback selected Thursday. Philadelphia chose Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell two picks earlier.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes was somewhat stunned that Arnold was available. He was making calls to teams with picks in the “late teens” and finally found a trade partner in the Cowboys.

Arnold was Detroit’s highest-ranked cornerback.

“I’m still kind of, ‘Never thought he’d be there,’” Holmes said.

Arnold had one of the flashiest looks of this year’s draft, wearing an electric salmon silk suit with a silver bow tie.

“You’ve got to have confidence, you’ve got to be borderline cocky but you’ve got to be humble at the same time,” Lions passing game coordinator/defensive backs DeShea Townsend said of what he looks for in a cornerback. “He’s a kid that has confidence, but having that confidence he understands he has to work.”

The Lions’ pass defense was one of the few weaknesses on a team that reached the NFC championship game. Detroit allowed 7.8 yards per pass attempt, second-worst in the league, and a league-worst 69 completions of 20 or more yards.

Holmes said it was a perfect combination of talent and need.

“It doesn’t always match up that way,” he said. “I’m sure you’ve heard me say a million times I don’t care what position it is, we’re going to get the best player. It happened to match the best player and an area where we wanted to add one at some time. We didn’t know if we were going to be able to add one in the first round.”

Arnold joins a mix of newcomers and holdovers at the cornerback spot. Detroit traded for Tampa Bay’s Carlton Davis III in March and signed Amik Robertson as a free agent. Robertson spent the past four seasons with Las Vegas.

The Lions also have Emmanuel Moseley and Kindle Vindor at the position. Detroit released former starter Cameron Sutton after he was accused of domestic violence.

Detroit has drafted an Alabama player in the first round three straight years. The Lions moved up to select wide receiver Jameson Williams at No. 12 in 2022 and chose running back Jahmyr Gibbs at the same spot last year.

“Those are my brothers,” Arnold said. “There’s something special going on here in Detroit.”

The Lions own five more picks heading into the second day of the draft, including the 29th selection in the second round (61st overall).

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