Detroit Lions had contingency plan if Terrion Arnold did not fall to them

The Lions didn't expect Terrion Arnold to fall to their first round range, so much so they had a contingency plan to trade up.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As offensive players went off the board quicky in the first round of the 2024 draft, defensive players fell. That worked to the advantage of the Detroit Lions, and any other team with bigger needs on the defensive side of the ball.

So when Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold fell out of the top-20, Lions general manager Brad Holmes pounced, trading up from No. 29 to No. 24 to get the No. 1 cornerback in this draft class for a lot of analysts.

Holmes said he didn't think Arnold would fall as far as he did.

“I didn’t think he (Arnold) was going to be there,” Holmes said. “Really, didn’t think he was going to be there calling late teens, but (I was) really trying and thinking we were going to have to settle for a different player at a different position but still trade up.”

It's safe to assume a successful trade up in the first round of the draft has many contingencies attached to it. Deals often don't happen until a pick is on the clock, so the player a team wants to move up for is assured to be available. It's also fair to assume a team that wants to move up has a backup plan or two, with irons in multiple trade fires.

NFL Draft rumors: Lions had backup plan if Terrion Arnold did not fall far enough

According to's Albert Breer, the Lions had the groundwork laid for another trade up-with another player in mind.

"Detroit had actually laid groundwork for a trade up—I believe Missouri DE Darius Robinson was the target—which made it easy to pivot and get aggressive in going up from No. 29 to No. 24 to land a falling Arnold,” Breer wrote."

Breer seems to dip into a little bit of speculation to say he believes the Lions' contingency target, if Arnold hadn't fallen, was Missouri defensive lineman Darius Robinson. Robinson wound up going to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 27 overall. So the Lions would have had to trade up from No. 29 if they wanted him, but when Arnold became an option they went that way instead.

In the same piece, Breer noted how the Lions are a team who actually made an effort to connect with former Alabama head coach Nick Saban about his players, which Saban once lamented most teams didn't do. Saban loves Arnold, and the Lions took their fourth Alabama player in the last three drafts within that endorsement.


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