Lions CB Terrion Arnold on track for starting role


Improving in the secondary was a priority for the Lions this offseason, and as a result, the team has several new faces in place at the cornerback position. 

Trade acquisition Carlton Davis III is, to no surprise, expected to handle a first-team defensive role in 2024. The other perimeter starting spot is yet to be determined.

The second cornerback spot will be a key position to watch during training camp, and Detroit has several contenders for the spot. As could be expected, though, the early favorite appears to be first-round rookie Terrion Arnold. During OTAs and minicamp, it was Davis and Arnold who handled the majority of reps with the starting defense, as noted by team reporter Tim Twentyman.

The Lions made Arnold the second corner off the board on Day 1 of the draft, moving up the order to acquire him. The Alabama product enjoyed a stellar 2023 campaign, leading the SEC in interceptions with five and adding 12 pass deflections. Arnold earned first-team All-SEC and All-American honors while surpassing teammate Kool-Aid McKinstry as a more highly regarded draft prospect.

The Lions used the second selection on a cornerback as well, adding Ennis Rakestraw Jr. at No. 61 overall. The Missouri product will look to carve out a role during his rookie campaign, and he could compete with free-agent signing Amik Robertson for playing time in the slot. 

On that note, Brian Branch is likely to split his time between the slot and safety this season, something which will have a notable effect on how the likes of Rakestraw and Robertson are used.

Twentyman names Emmanuel Moseley as another contender for a first-team perimeter role. The 28-year-old’s debut Lions campaign was cut short by an ACL tear, but he re-signed on a one-year deal in March. 

Moseley has 33 starts to his name dating back to his time with the 49ers, and he therefore represents an experienced alternative to Arnold as a first-team option. Questions remain about his health and his ability to return to his previous form, though, which could leave Arnold as the preferred option at the start of the campaign.

The Lions ranked 27th against the pass in 2023, and improving in that area would go a long way in helping the team repeat its 2023 success. How the cornerback pecking order is determined this summer will be a key factor in those efforts, making it an interesting storyline to follow.

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