With the Super Bowl over, it’s time to start focusing on the NFL offseason, and that’s especially true for the Detroit Lions, who are now on the clock in terms of figuring out how to proceed
With the offseason and draft season fast approaching, some familiar faces are throwing their hat into the ring with mock drafts. Recently, ESPN’s Todd McShay was the latest to do so in an Insider piece, and he had a usual face going to Detroit with the No. 3 pick.
According to McShay, the Lions should select Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah with the pick. That fits with what fellow expert Mel Kiper saw in his first mock for the team.
Here’s a look at what McShay had to say about the pick:
“The Lions had the NFL’s worst pass defense, allowing 284.4 yards through the air per game, and tied for a league-worst seven interceptions. Darius Slay is 29 years old, Justin Coleman fits better in a nickel role and Rashaan Melvin is a free agent, so Detroit might look to address cornerback with a first-round pick for the first time since 1998 (Terry Fair). Okudah has the size, versatility, quickness and athleticism to be a No. 1 corner in the NFL. Detroit has to fix its porous defense, and getting a high-end defensive back like Okudah here is certainly a good place to start.”
Okudah would be a major fix for Detroit’s struggling secondary, and the fit is something plenty have seen in recent months.
Analysts Explain Lions Fit With Jeffrey Okudah
Fortunately for Detroit, a perfect fit could exist for the secondary in the market in the form of Okudah. The Ohio State product isn’t just the best cornerback in the draft, 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.