Bengals Projected to Draft Cornerback Compared to Trevon Diggs

Terrion Arnold

Getty Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold.

The Cincinnati Bengals could see an elite defensive prospect drop to them in the upcoming draft.

ESPN’s Matt Miller projects the Bengals to add Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft on April 25 in Detroit. Miller’s latest mock draft has Cincinnati taking Arnold at No. 18.

“Arnold was a five-star safety prospect but made the move to cornerback, where he started for two seasons and collected six interceptions and 21 pass breakups,” Miller wrote. “He also ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot and 189 pounds, and he is feisty and physical at the line of scrimmage. In short, he has the skill set of a true CB1 and future Pro Bowler.”

Terrion Arnold Has Been Compared to Dallas Cowboys Star Trevon Diggs

Pro Football Network’s Ian Cummings pointed out that Arnold wouldn’t be the first player from Alabama to come to Tuscaloosa as a safety and leave as an elite cornerback.

“Terrion Arnold, like Trevon Diggs before him, began life at Alabama as a safety,” Cummings wrote. “The athletic phenom was a five-star recruit according to On3 and 247 Sports and was a four-star by Rivals and ESPN. No matter where we looked, he was a top-five player at the position entering college.”

Diggs may have laid the groundwork for Arnold becoming a first-round pick as teams won’t want to pass on the potential of bringing in someone with talent similar to the player the Dallas Cowboys selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.

Over his first three seasons, Diggs was arguably the NFL’s best cornerback. He led the NFL with 11 interceptions in 2021 and is already a two-time Pro Bowler. He was an NFL All-Pro in 2021 and seemed poised another big season in 2023 before he tore his ACL less than one month into the season.

Bengals Might Not Get Chance to Take Arnold at No. 18

The Ringer’s latest mock draft has Arnold slotted 10 spots higher to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8 overall.

Arnold turned heads at the NFL combine with a bravura performance, where he checked in at 5-foot-11 3/4 and 189 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and registered a 37-inch vertical leap.

“Arnold has a tapered, muscular frame with long arms,” wrote The Ringer’s Danny Kelly. “He’s a fluid athlete who changes direction effortlessly and plays all over the defensive secondary, with experience both outside and in the slot. In press looks, he plays in a low, balanced stance, showing loose, flexible hips to turn to run with receivers. He’s always deliberate with his footwork and has plenty of speed to carry receivers downfield on vertical routes.”

Arnold would be the fourth defensive back from Alabama selected in the first round in the last decade following Marlon Humphrey (2017), Minkah Fitzpatrick (2018), and Patrick Surtain Jr. (2021).

“Going to Alabama with me playing the STAR (position), I used to watch Minkah’s tape all the time,” Arnold said at the NFL combine. “Coach (Nick) Saban had a things called cut-ups, so when we looked at cut-ups, Minkah was on every single one of them.”