Terrion Arnold: Grading Detroit Lions' No. 24 pick in NFL draft

2024 NFL Draft - Round 1
2024 NFL Draft - Round 1 / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions traded up to get a guy they had their eyes on all along. The franchise saw the early emergence of an Alabama defensive back last season in second-round pick Brian Branch and expects to see similar production in cornerback Terrion Arnold right away.

Here's the grade.

A Crimson Tide prospect who is known for his toughness and “dog mentality”, Arnold is simply one of the top defenders in the 2024 NFL Draft. He led all draft-eligible corners in run tackles and a 3.6% missed tackle rate this past season. In the same vein, in 43 single coverage targets in 2023, Arnold had either a pass breakup or an interception in 14 of them, which was an absurd 32.6% rate. 

The Lions signed cornerbacks Carlton Davis III and Amik Robertson this offseason but needed to still be aggressive in addressing the position. After all, they ranked 27th in the NFL in pass defense last season after yielding 247.4 yards per game through the air. Adding a shutdown corner like Arnold, who is a day-one starter, should drastically improve that area. 

For one of the top-rated defensive backs in this class that continued to slide down the draft board, this was a huge steal for the home crowd in Detroit.

For a team that needed defensive back help, this was one of the best picks of the entire draft. He is going to immediately improve this defensive backfield in 2024 and get Detroit back to Super Bowl contention.

Grade: A