Lions’ Brad Holmes Summarizes Terrion Arnold 1st-Round Pick in 1 Sentence

The Detroit Lions were connected to several different cornerbacks in the first round of all kinds of NFL mock drafts this offseason. But while talking to reporters after the first round on April 25, Lions general manager Brad Holmes didn’t see his organization grabbing a cornerback in the first round.

Lions GM Brad Holmes hasn't heard much more from teams regarding trading Pick 2 -

That is, until he saw Alabama’s Terrion Arnold falling on the draft board.

The 2024 NFL draft began with a record 14 offensive players. Then once defensive players started going off the board, the first cornerback wasn’t drafted until No. 22 overall.

So, Holmes pounced, trading up from No. 29 overall to 24th to grab Arnold.

The Lions general manager attempted to put the move into words while speaking to reporters.

“Never thought he would be there, but we couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Holmes.

Prior to the draft, ESPNPro Football Focus and Bleacher Report all ranked Arnold a top 15 prospect in the 2024 draft class.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah rated Arnold the No. 9 overall prospect on his big board on April 22.

GM Brad Holmes Says Terrion Arnold Was Lions Top-Rated CB

Terrion Arnold and Kalen DeBoer share a heartfelt moment - Yahoo Sports

In addition to ranking him a top 10 prospect, Jeremiah rated Arnold the best cornerback in the 2024 draft class. Holmes and the Lions agreed with that assessment.

“He was our best,” Holmes told reporters. “He was our highest-rated corner.”

The Lions gave up the No. 73 overall pick in the third round to move up five spots for Arnold. That selection, along with their original first-round pick, went to the Dallas Cowboys for No. 24 overall and a 2025 seventh-rounder.

The trade will leave the Lions with only one Day 2 choice. Detroit also doesn’t have a fourth-round pick, so the Lions will go more than 100 selections on Days 2 and 3 without adding a player.

But it’s hard to argue with the decision to depart with a third-rounder when landing perhaps the best cornerback prospect of the 2024 class was what Detroit received in return.

“Overall, I struggled to find much to criticize in Arnold’s play, despite his lack of experience at the position, having arrived at Alabama as a highly regarded safety prospect,” Jeremiah wrote. “He has all the tools and traits to be a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback.”

Lions Find Top CB Prospect, Fill Biggest Need With Terrion Arnold

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Good draft selections will usually satisfy one of two things. They will either fill a need or provide the team value based on draft positioning.

Great selections will satisfy both of those items.

Despite needing to trade up for Arnold, the Alabama cornerback checked both of those boxes for Detroit.

“It doesn’t always match up that way. I know you guys have heard me say a million times, ‘We don’t care what the position it is. We’re just going to get the best football player,’” Holmes told reporters. “But it happened to match up that it’s the best football player and it was an area [of need].

“We wanted to add one (a cornerback) at some point. We didn’t know if we were going to be able to add one in the first round. To be quite honest, we weren’t really anticipating being able to add one in the first round. We just kind of thought we’d be out of the mix for a lot of those guys, especially for him.”

The Lions are adding Arnold to a secondary that finished 27th in passing yards allowed and tied for 29th in net yards yielded per pass attempt in 2023. From a statistical standpoint, pass defense was obviously Detroit’s biggest need prior to the draft.

In 2023, Arnold posted 12 pass defenses and 5 interceptions in 14 games. He also had 8 pass defenses and 1 interception at Alabama during 2022.

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