Lions caught Packers sleeping by stealing dream target in NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur
Green Bay Packers, Matt LaFleur / John Fisher/GettyImages

Under Brian Gutekunst's leadership, the Green Bay Packers have never hesitated to trade up for a prospect they love.

It made it all the more surprising when the Packers sat and did nothing as the best cornerbacks in the class, including Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell and Alabama's Terrion Arnold, fell within reach of Green Bay's selection at No. 25. Mitchell went 22nd to the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Detroit Lions selected Arnold one pick ahead of the Packers.

Trading up to No. 23 for Arnold would've likely cost a fourth-rounder. The fact Gutekunst didn't trade up suggests he didn't want to.

ESPN's Brady Henderson reported that the Packers had conversations with the Seattle Seahawks about moving up to No. 16 overall but "bowed out" as Seattle's pick neared. That suggests their top targets were off the board.

However, Detroit traded in front of Green Bay for a reason.

Lions jumped ahead of Packers to land potential Pro Bowl cornerback

A recent report from ESPN's Jeremy Fowler suggests the Lions jumped ahead of the Packers for Arnold because there was "belief" Green Bay rated him "highly."

"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," reports Fowler. "The belief is Green Bay had Arnold rated highly."

And there's good reason to believe that. Arnold has everything the Packers look for. The Alabama product has an elite Relative Athletic Score of 9.27, and he is coming off an outstanding final season for Alabama, defending 12 passes and intercepting five.

Considering the 47 games Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes have missed over the past three seasons, Green Bay should've targeted a cornerback early. Arnold would've been a perfect fit. He would be a Day 1 starter at outside corner or nickel, wherever the Packers felt he could help them the most. Instead, they allowed a division rival to move up and fix their biggest position of need by drafting him.

The Packers are understandably pleased with landing Jordan Morgan at No. 25, but would they have still picked him if Arnold had fallen one more spot?

If the answer is yes, they made the right decision and stuck to their board. If Arnold would've been the pick—Fowler reports they rated him highly—then not trading up was a huge error. The Lions jumping the Packers to No. 24 was always a possibility, one we wrote about before the draft.

The opportunity to draft a cornerback with Pro Bowl potential doesn't come around often, and the Packers blew a chance by not trading up for Arnold.

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