The Detroit Lions could be in prime position to add a new cornerback in the months ahead, and the player might already have the blessing of Darius Slay.
While at the Super Bowl, Slay was asked about budding star Jeffrey Okudah, who has been a popular mock choice for the Lions early on. He had a glowing review of a player many could see joining the team relatively soon.
“He’s a hell of a player. I’ve watched his film, watched some of his games, he competes at a high level,” Slay says in a video posted by the Detroit Free Press inside a piece by Dave Birkett. “There’s a lot of things I could help him with become a great player. You can see he makes plays. He’s a ball player. I see his feet. He does a lot of technique I use. Staying on top, making plays on deep balls. You can tell he takes the deep ball away first easily. With him being so quick, so long, aggressive. He can take away a lot of other stuff.”
Okudah quickly saw the complements, and reached out with a shout out of his own on Twitter for Slay.
The duo could eventually be teammates, so it never hurts to build up a great relationship beforehand, something Slay alluded to when speaking about Okudah.
Why Jeffrey Okudah Fits Lions Best
The Ohio State product isn’t just the best cornerback in the draft and a supremely talented player in the mind of Slay, he could be the ideal fit for the Lions as well given what he can do so well on the field for a defense.
Recently, a pair of Pro Football Focus analysts explained why Okudah is such a good fit for plenty of teams, especially the Lions, and why he ranks so highly given what he did in college.
“He is the number one cornerback in this draft class. He should be, realistically, the first cornerback drafted within the top three picks in a while,” they said. “It just hasn’t happened. It’s a rare thing to see, but for our money, the second most valuable position on the football field.”
When it came to the Lions, production is the thing that should catch their eye with Okudah most of all according to the PFF folks.
“Someone like the Lions should be more than willing to make Jeffrey Okudah their first round pick with just how dominant he’s been over the course of his college career. For his entire career in college he’s allowed 5.4 yards per target. From freshman year to junior year. That’s absurd. Rare to see a guy play at that high a level,” they said.”
Detroit might not be the only team to consider Okudah heavily, but their scheme could represent the best fit given man coverage.
“Three, four and five, Lions, Giants and Dolphins all would, should consider Okudah,” they said. “I think he is that good. We always speak to this too. With Okudah and Ohio State cornerbacks, they always play a ton of man coverage, having that experience, the Lions fit is too easy.”
The smart money remains on the Lions considering Okudah strongly when all is said and done given the need, his talent and the potential to build up a miserable defense.
Jeffrey Okudah Stats
Okudah could be the best player on the board when the Lions end up picking at No. 3. As also explained elsewhere, evaluators love his length and size. It could be a winning combination for a needy Detroit pass defense that has been exposed in a major way this season on the back end.
At Ohio State, Okudah has put up some excellent numbers in a short time. He’s collected 78 tackles, 3 interceptions, 16 passes defended and 2 fumble recoveries. Perhaps better than that for the Lions, he didn’t allow a completion over 50 yards this season.
That paints the portrait of a player who can be a potential lock down defender at the next level. Okudah has also been a popular selection in mock drafts for Detroit.
He might already be popular with one of the team’s defensive leaders as well.
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