According to the Detroit Lions newly appointed defensive coordinator, don’t expect a heavy dose of rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah in week one of the season.
The Detroit Lions used the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on corner Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State. It was the first time a corner had been chosen that high in the draft since the Seattle Seahawks selected Shawn Springs third overall in the 1997 NFL Draft; Springs ironically also played his college ball at OSU.
As the NFL season opener vastly approaches, many of us expected after selecting a cornerback third overall he’d easily win one of the starting outside corner positions leading up to week one of the season, but it’s Cory Undlin swiftly pumping the breaks on that notion according to Detroit Lions beat writer for MLive, Kyle Meinke.
It is a very vague statement from the Lions defensive play-caller, but it also isn’t exactly what we, the fans, would like to hear.
Maybe, just maybe, this is the Detroit coaching staff merely taking a page out of the New England Patriots playbook by not saying too much, in fact, at times not saying anything at all.
Just a few months ago, I had penciled in rookie Okudah as the Detroit Lions starting left-corner. This corner usually covers the opponents’ top pass-catcher, we were spoon-fed the sentiment Okudah was an elite talent, this after the team traded away All-Pro Darius Slay.
The organization did sign veteran Desmond Trufant after he had been released by the Atlanta Falcons to try and fill the void left by Slay. Last season rookie Amani Oruwariye took his lumps but showed positive growth as the season grew old; as it stands now, he’s expected to start at one of the outside corner positions opposite Trufant Sunday when the Lions host the Chicago Bears in week one.
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Don’t read to much into what Undlin says; we know Okudah will ‘have a role,’ but after selecting him third overall, we would prefer to read that he’s ready to start. It seems the Lions are prepared to work Okudah into the lineup slowly, but we will have a better indication Sunday how Detroit plans to use their highly decorated rookie out of the gate.