Lions Jeff Okudah Named an Early Favorite For NFL Award

Jeff Okudah

Getty Jeff Okudah during Ohio State's bowl game.

The Detroit Lions selected Jeff Okudah right off the bat in the 2020 NFL Draft, and the move has been praised given the need at the position as well as the talent of the player.

Now, Okudah will come to Detroit with the hopes of turning around a Lions defense which has been bad on the back end. As a result, most figure Okudah will come into the mix and start right away. When he does that, what type of season can Okudah be expected to have? New odds are in from DraftKings Sportsbook and they favor Okudah strongly to have a great season and perhaps even take home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

While Chase Young is a +250 to take home the award, Isaiah Simmons is a +500, Patrick Queen is a +900 and Kenneth Murray is a +1100, Okudah is in fifth position at a +1600, not that far off the pace. Obviously, with a great season, it would significantly help the cornerback’s odds.

Early on he’s fairly high already.

Jeff Okudah Excited Joining Lions

After being selected, Okudah showed off a new virtual trading card from Panini, but also shared his excitement to be coming to the Lions. He even flashed the One Pride rally cry, as well as giving a “Go Lions” to the fans.

Okudah also said he is ready to be in the mix, and no words can describe his excitement to join the team.

Obviously, Okudah will have a bit of ground to make up with several fans in Michigan considering his Ohio State roots given his team has beaten up Michigan and Michigan State the last few seasons, but with a solid enough performance in the secondary, everyone will be able to overlook that.

Okudah also spoke humbly after being picked by the team about his ability to fit in and assimilate with the team.

It will be fun to see how Okudah adjusts to being a top dog on the Detroit defense, but it’s clear that he’s ready to fit in and make an impact for the team.

Jeffrey Okudah Called Perfect Fit For Lions

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, and that was proven right when the team selected him.

With a big first season, Okudah could have himself in the mix for some big awards right off the bat.

READ NEXT: Highlights of New Lions Cornerback Jeff Okudah

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