Raiders Deny Terrion Arnold's Wild NFL Draft Coin Flip Story

Las Vegas selected Bowers over Arnold with the 13th pick in the 2024 NFL draft.
Apr 26, 2024; Henderson, NV, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Brock Bowers speaks to the media at
Apr 26, 2024; Henderson, NV, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Brock Bowers speaks to the media at / Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders selected Brock Bowers with the 13th pick in the 2024 NFL draft and, given Bowers was projected to go in the top 10 by most mock drafters, many considered it a big win for the franchise.

In a different universe, however, the Raiders very well could have selected Alabama cornerback Terrion Arnold. The way Arnold tells it, the team literally flipped a coin—a story Las Vegas denied.

Arnold, who was selected 24th by the Detroit Lions, appeared as a guest on Tuesday's episode of the SEC-focused show The Next Round. He recounted his draft night experience and revealed that the Raiders told him that they had a "coin toss" between him and Bowers to make their selection.

"(The Lions) knew the Raiders, there was a possibility they took me," Arnold said. "Actually, the Raiders' coach, they called me after the draft and they were like, 'We actually had a coin toss between you and Brock Bowers and landed on him.' I was like, 'Oh, wow.'"

During media availability on Wednesday, reporters asked assistant general manager Champ Kelly about the alleged coin flip and he said he "can't confirm that, at all," per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez.

Which shouldn't come as a shock. If a professional football franchise really did decide a first-round draft choice with a coin flip, nobody involved would be particularly eager to tell the world about it. There's also a chance something got lost in translation here since calling tough decisions a "coin flip" is a well-used turn of phrase.

Regardless of how they got there, the Raiders made a quality decision from the current vantage point. Bowers technically has some positional overlap with Las Vegas' 2023 second-round pick, Michael Mayer, but he's more viewed as an offensive weapon or pass catcher rather than a pure tight end. As long as the Raiders get the ball into Bowers' hands, good things will happen. To nab him at No. 13 when most mocks didn't project him getting past the Jets at No. 10 is good value. Arnold was seen as an elite prospect but Bowers was ranked among the very best in the class.

Whether it was a coin flip or not, the Raiders made their choice. Time will tell if it was the right one.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.