Early stat projections for Lions' rookie Terrion Arnold feel disrespectful

An early stat projection for Lions' cornerback Terrion Arnold feels like an underestimation of what he'll do as a rookie.

The Detroit Lions drafted cornerback Terrion Arnold almost a month ago, and his preparation for his rookie season is set to ramp up with the next phase of OTAs this week. There will be a learning curve, but he's expected to play a significant role right away for the Lions' defense.

How productive will Arnold be as a rookie? Sheer traditional stats may not tell the full story of his rookie season when it's all said and done, but ESPN's Mike Clay has projected some stats for the 2024 rookie class (subscription required). Arnold appeared on the top-5 lists for tackles and interceptions.

Clay projected Arnold for 58 total tackles- fourth among his rookie defensive peers. In terms of interceptions, Arnold was pegged for just 1.3-third among rookies.

There's a method to Clay's work, as he admits young players often don't account for many interceptions and just totaled the lowest amount of tackles since 2015 last season. Still, if there's a player primed to break that mold it could be Arnold.

Terrion Arnold's confidence sets him for quick success

Obviously, statistical projections are just a potential roadmap to trying to determine the impact a player could make. But there's a lack of respect being tossed Arnold's way from Clay in this exercise.

Not only does Arnold have the physical game to measure up quick in the league, but he will also be entrusted with plenty of reps for a defense that needs his help. He already has the mental makeup befitting a veteran, highlighted by his recent comments about his mom.

"If my mom was out here right now and she lined up across from me as a receiver, I would jam her into the dirt. That's just my mindset and my mom knows that right now. I mean, it's just the simple aspect of football-wise, that's just the way that I think and the way that I was brought up."

That doesn't sound like someone prepared to be satisfied with 58 tackles and essentially one interception during his rookie season. Doubt Arnold at your own peril, as he sounds ready to make his mark in a bigger way than Clay projects here in May.

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