Lions draft grade: Brad Holmes makes savvy trade up for Terrion Arnold

The Lions waited the draft board out, then moved quickly to add Terrion Arnold.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A record 23 offensive players went of the board in the first round of the draft on Thursday night, including the first 14 picks. That meant defensive players fell, which worked to the advantage of the Detroit Lions and every other team that had greater needs on that side of the ball.

General manager Brad Holmes has shown a propensity to make a trade in the first round of the draft, having done so in each of the last two drafts. So it's fair to wonder if he had to exercise some patience, and just wait until the right player fell far enough to make a move up more palatable.

When the Dallas Cowboys were on clock at pick No. 24, the moment came. The Lions parted with pick 29 and pick 73 this year, while moving up five spots and picking up a seventh-rounder in 2025 in the deal.

A report from just before the draft started said the Lions would make an aggressive trade up for Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold if he fell past pick No. 18. That was proven true when Arnold was the pick at 24th overall.

In his post-pick media session after taking Arnold, Holmes said he started making calls about a trade up around the late-teens, which also aligns with the report from Matt Broder of Woodward Sports.

Grading the Lions first-round selection of Terrion Arnold

Arnold was a top-10 to top-15 prospect in this draft class for most analysts, and the No, 1 for a lot of analysts. So getting him at No. 24 automatically looks like a steal, and it's being widely tabbbed that way.

While he doesn’t have elite vertical speed, Arnold is has solid size (6-foot, 189 pounds) and length (31 and 5/8-inch arms), he's an extremely fluid athlete with great short-area quickness (1.54-second 10-yard split in the 40 at the combine). He excels in man coverage (press-man), is aggressive, has a nose for the ball and he can play outside or in the slot. He also has the character and intangibles the Lions covet alongside a player's talent.

The deal to go up and get him has to be rolled into the grade of the Arnold selection. A couple models aren't kind to the Lions on that front.

Using the Rich Hill trade value chart, the Lions gave up 274 points and got back 239 (giving two points to the 2025 seventh-rounder). Per the chart, the 142nd overall pick this year (early fifth round) has a value of 35 points.

The trade also leaves the Lions with just one more pick in the top-163, No. 61 overall. But when a team trades up, they'll usually surrender the surplus in pick value. There's something to be said for just going and getting your guy, as Holmes suggested they would if they traded up, and Holmes said Arnold was clearly the No. 1 corner on their board.

Lions draft grade for Terrion Arnold selection: A+

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