Lions made sure they beat out NFC North rival to get Terrion Arnold

The Lions had competition to get Terrion Arnold, and now there's some insight on which team it was.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Terrion Arnold was the No. 1 cornerback in this year's draft class for a lot of analysts, and no lower than No. 2 for the rest. So when he fell out of the top-20, the Detroit Lions pounced and moved up five spots to take him.

It has subsequently, and unsurprisingly, been revealed that the Lions weren't the only team who was trying to move and draft Arnold. Walter Football cited a high-ranking NFC personnel man who said his team was beaten to the punch by the Lions in its effort to trade up for Arnold. But it's fair to assume said team was not the only one in that boat, falling short in a pursuit of a trade up to get Arnold.

The identity of that one team, or any other teams who didn't get a trade up for Arnold done, seemed destined to never be revealed. As it probably should be, hence the scrutiny of hindsight befall those the Lions "beat to the punch" if Arnold becomes a top NFL cornerback.

Lions beat NFC rival to the punch for Terrion Arnold?

In a collection of post-draft intel for each team (subscription required), ESPN's Jeremy Fowler had this about the Lions.

"It's possible the Lions jumped an NFC North rival for a top corner."

"As Detroit moved from No. 29 to 24 to snag corner Terrion Arnold, the Packers at No. 25 were among the teams that Arnold's camp had firmly on the radar entering the 20s. The belief is Green Bay had Arnold rated highly."

"Green Bay's star corner, Jaire Alexander, was a 2018 first-round selection at No. 18, two picks ahead of Detroit. The Lions got Frank Ragnow with that pick, so things worked out well for both teams. But at least Detroit prevented Green Bay from potentially getting another star corner. Detroit coveted Arnold's man-coverage traits and all-around game."

The anecdote about Alexander and Ragnow in the 2018 draft is not very meaningful. But the rest of this absolutely makes sense. The Packers were expected to draft a cornerback or an offensive lineman with their first-round pick, and at least one fan expected a certain cornerback to be their pick at No. 25. More broadly, they had good options at cornerback even after the Lions drafted Arnold.

Getting the No. 1 corner in this year's draft class at No. 24 was pretty sweet on its own. If the Packers wanted Arnold and the Lions made sure they moved ahead of them to get it done, as seems to be case now, that's even better.


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