Jeffrey Okudah is the by far the best cornerback set to enter the NFL in the 2020 draft. He’d be the safest pick the Detroit Lions could make in the first round.
The NFL combine is fascinating to watch, but the game film should be what sways an organization to select a player in the draft or head in a different direction. In Jeffrey Okudah’s case, the film and his combine performance-linked together make him the most trustworthy pick Bob Quinn and the Detroit Lions could make with their first-round selection. Keep in mind, the safe pick isn’t always the best.
The tape proves over and over again that Okudah is a lock-down, shut-down corner in college football, it also describes that this without a doubt will carry over into the NFL.
Okudah has been compared to both Darrelle Revis and Stephon Gilmore in recent days. If I’m a cornerback prospect, I’m thrilled with those comparisons. Those are franchise corners in the NFL. Okudah didn’t prove he had blazing speed at the combine, but he did run a very respectable 4.48 40 yard dash. He dazzled in the broad jump leaping a whopping 11.3 feet. He also recorded a 41-inch verticle jump. Both jumps were the best amongst the corners.
Something that stood out was how fluid his hips are. During a drill at the combine, he was forced to back peddle, swivel back and forth, chopping those feet as quickly as possible and then ripping around as if you’re covering a “go-route” only to get a football thrown at you as you turn just to test the hands and reaction time. He checked all the boxes and looked phenomenal doing so.
Here is the NFL Networks’ draft specialist Daniel Jeremiah breaking down Okudah’s game.
Okudah’s strength, size, skill, and willingness to tackle (something that shouldn’t be overlooked) makes him a flawless prospect.
If the Detroit Lions decided to select Okudah, he’d be a plug and play player, but he wouldn’t make the same immediate impact within the Detroit Lions defense as Chase Young.
It’s a passing league, so you’d think you’d want to draft a top corner, right? Well, the Lions had an All-Pro, Pro Bowl corner in Darius Slay, but he struggled in coverage last season, but it’s not entirely his fault.
You watched the games; the Lions couldn’t summon a pass-rush to save their life. Even the better corners (Slay) will struggle to cover these NFL wide receivers for more than four or five seconds play after play. Five seconds is a lifetime in coverage. NFL Quarterbacks with that kind of time will pick a defense apart.
I like Okudah’s skill-set, but the Detroit Lions need a Chase Young type more than they need Okudah. With free agency opening before the draft, the Lions will have an opportunity to address some pass-rush issues. If they sign some help in that area, drafting Okudah becomes more and more probable.
The Lion’s first choice is Chase Young, and I believe Okudah is their second. Last season Jeff made 34 tackles, 3 interceptions, 9 passes defended, and forced one fumble with the Ohio State Buckeyes.