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NFL Scouting Report: Terrion Arnold

John Moran

Alabama’s star cornerback Terrion Arnold charges down the field with an interception in hand.

The NFL Draft is right around the corner, and with it, the annual hype train for each player is beginning to roll. This week, the GOAT’s getting into it. In this article, star Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold will be reviewed. Remember, watch the film before forging your own opinion, but here’s mine.

Even before looking at the film, though, the box score shines on its own. With 63 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions, and 12 pass breakups, Arnold had a very productive season. Additionally, he only allowed a 60.5 passer rating when he was targeted by opposing quarterbacks. While film matters far more than box scores, the box score is still something to consider.

The first thing that a scout notices when watching Arnold’s tape is that he is an extremely high football IQ player. When Arnold is in the zone, he lets his aggressiveness shine in all of the right ways. He anticipates throws with ease and makes jumps on balls that most corners couldn’t dream of getting to. In press man, a common technique among cornerbacks, he is extremely physical, and his jams at the line are more often than not enough to disrupt the timing of the receiver’s route.

His athleticism is also a plus. At 6’0” and nearly 200 pounds, this guy is the perfect package for a cornerback. His mid-4.4 forty-yard dash time is good but not great. He’s a consistently fluid mover all over the field. His hip fluidity and shoulder turn quickness are high-level, and his ability to switch between lateral and vertical movement is a hallmark of his game. 

Arnold is also one of the better cornerbacks at supporting the run in this year’s draft. His close explosiveness led to some massive pops on running backs this year, hits that you wouldn’t usually expect to see out of a boundary corner. 

One issue with Arnold is that while he has short area bursts in spades, he doesn’t necessarily have the long recovery speed that a guy who plays as physically as he does might want. If Arnold presses up hard on a receiver and the receiver somehow gets by him downfield, Arnold might not be the best at catching up to him before the ball ends up in his opponent’s hands. He isn’t slow in any sense of the word, but he also isn’t in that tier one of speedy corners. 

Another issue with his game stems from his aggressiveness. While he is certainly a smart football player, his play recognition can sometimes be lacking, and if an opponent hits a double move on him, there is a chance it works. He always wants to jump down on those hitch routes, so when a receiver stems inwards and then bursts back upfield, it can leave Arnold standing on his heels, watching a helmet go by him. This, combined with his lack of elite recovery speed, is an issue.

The fact of the matter is that Terrion Arnold was a winning cornerback in the SEC as a young player right from the start. As a former five-star recruit at safety, his football IQ allowed him to adapt to corner quickly. He proved it on Saturdays, and now he’s a guy NFL teams want playing for them on Sundays. Based on the NFL’s official grading system, I would give Arnold a score of 6.41, meaning I grade him as a high-quality future starter who may just need a year or so to get used to the NFL. This is a tough grade to give, but I just think that his lack of top-end speed will keep him from that top-shelf type of lockdown corner unless he develops his technique better. He’s my CB3 this year. I could see a Pro Bowl in his future, and I would be happy for any team that drafts this young man. I can’t wait to see his career.


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