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Instant Draft Reaction: Lions Pick Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah

By: Trey Rodgers
By: Trey Rodgers

Detroit Lions Columnist

Round 1, Pick 3 – Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State

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The Detroit Lions, after much speculation, have selected their first round player in the 2020 NFL Draft. Mocked to Detroit often, the pick did indeed end up being Jeffrey Okudah, the highly touted cornerback from Ohio State. Let’s dive into some instant reactions to this pick, and Okudah’s potential impact for the Lions.

Jeffrey Okudah’s Fit In Detroit

Widely regarded as the top corner in this draft, Okudah has been compared to the likes of CB Marshon Lattimore and CB Jalen Ramsey, some of the best defensive backs in the league. Okudah is the type of prospect at cornerback that only comes once every four to five years, and the Lions ended up pouncing on the opportunity to grab him at pick number three. After talks about a potential trade for the pick, the Lions stuck to their guns and chose the player who will surely have an instant impact on defense.

Okudah committed no holding or pass interference penalties as a physical cornerback in his 2019 season, facing tough competition as a member of the Buckeyes. This, paired with his immense length and talent for man coverage schemes make him an exciting prospect for the Lions defense. Head coach Matt Patricia’s employment of man coverage packages means Okudah will be able to slot in right away, a true plug and play corner. Okudah also stands tall for a cornerback at six feet one inch, with a wingspan of nearly seventy nine inches. These dimensions mean Okudah will be able to swat passes away with ease and cover tight ends in ways other cornerbacks are not able to.

Jeffrey Okudah will surely play meaningful minutes for the Lions from day one, with great veteran presences in CB Desmond Trufant and CB Justin Coleman to learn from. With emerging CB Amani Oruwariye also in the DB room, Okudah has a fantastic opportunity to learn from some proven talent, and grow alongside the unit as a whole. Okudah’s presence in Detroit gives the Lions the ability to run further coverage packages, rotate defensive backs to keep opposing offenses guessing, and allows other corners like Coleman to return to their preferred roles, like Nickel back.

This is a great pick for the Lions, and without overthinking it, they were able to land a solid defensive piece who will be part of the team for years to come. For a defensive unit that was among the bottom three teams last year against the pass, Okudah is an instant upgrade and a great fit for the Lions.

Instant Draft Grade: A

Jeffrey Okudah’s Fantasy Impact

For the fantasy side of things, defenses can be hit or miss. For the Lions last year, their defense was particularly unfavorable in fantasy, being tied for the least amount of interceptions, and ranked in the mid twenty’s overall. Okudah will definitely have an impact in this regard, surely leading to more takeaways for the Lions defense.

To compare Detroit’s real draft to our mock draft for the Lions, click here.

While not necessarily launching them to a top tier defense by himself, Okudah, alongside other defensive additions, like DT Danny Shelton, CB Desmond Trufant, and S Duron Harmon, should help the unit improve as a whole. The Lions could definitely see their fantasy defense become a mid tier one, and one that depending on match ups, could become a sneakily decent streaming option.

Looking Forward In The Draft

After selecting a top tier defensive back, the Lions are likely not going to pick another immediately. The ramifications of this pick, plus their free agency additions, likely mean Detroit is looking elsewhere for their upcoming picks. With needs at positions like defensive end and offensive tackle, the Lions might be aiming for some talent at those spots in particular. As the draft continues, the Lions might have players like OT Prince Tega Wanogho or DE A.J. Epenesa to look forward to in the second round. Either way, the Lions can go into day two of the draft knowing they just added a solid piece to their roster in Okudah. Having a strong coverage unit will be key to the Lions success in 2020, and after adding Okudah, the Lions are doing their part to ensure there is a No Fly Zone in the Motor City.

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