Detroit Lions: 3 defenders poised to bounce back in 2021

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Detroit Lions, Jeff Okudah
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Jeff Okudah will bounce back for the Detroit Lions in 2021.

The biggest addition to the Detroit Lions secondary may prove to be a coach rather than a player.  Aaron Glenn is the teams’ new defensive coordinator and someone head coach Dan Campbell is very familiar with as the two coached together with the New Orleans Saints.

Glenn is a former NFL cornerback and enjoyed a very successful professional playing career and appeared in three Pro Bowls.

I expect to see Glenn’s immediate impact through Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye.

Okudah struggled mightily in his rookie season after the Detroit Lions selected the Ohio State standout corner with the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Okudah appeared in nine games and saw his rookie campaign cut short due to various injuries.  Okudah battled through a shoulder issue during the year, but a groin injury that required surgery ended his season following week 11.

The 22-year old is poised to bounce back with Glenn’s guidance in his second season.  Okudah earned an atrocious overall grade of 42.5 from PFF as a rookie.  Some of that was personal performance, but the teams’ scheme and overall defense are also to blame.  The Lions failed to generate any consistent pressure, plus Patricia refused to give his outside corners any help in coverage which combined to be a recipe for disaster.

Okudah yielded a catch rate of 76% last season. He allowed 38 receptions on 50 targets; he gave up a whopping 579 yards and an average of 15.2 yards per reception.  There is no other direction than up for Okudah, and he’s far too talented not to succeed.

Expect to see a significant improvement from the second-year corner in 2021.