Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah is an important key for the team’s defense in 2020, and while he’s had the type of camp that could be described as inconsistent for a rookie, the big plays are starting to come.
Friday, Okudah impressed by intercepting Matthew Stafford which capped off a nice day for him. So far, it’s been an up and down start for Okudah with things being more down than up in recent days, but for him to be able to intercept Stafford is a major feather in the cap for any rookie.
Jeff Okudah had his best day of practice so far — intercepting a deep Matthew Stafford pass to Marvin Jones. It was, I believe, Stafford's first interception of camp. He also worked with the first team with Desmond Trufant not working in team drills… https://t.co/hJWlHnCB0Z
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) August 21, 2020
Many others also noticed Okudah standing out and cited him as one of the more impressive players on the field during practice.
A few impressions from my trip @Lions training camp today on a few new players.Danny Shelton is a beast,Huntley is fast as s*it and Okudah was very good. One other observation is Da’Shawn Hand will be a problem for the other team.
— michael stone (@stoney16) August 21, 2020
Okudah comes into Detroit with tons of pressure being he is the No. 3 pick in the draft, but it will be important for folks to remember that he is also playing a tough position on the field. It’s not easy for cornerbacks to adjust, and it will take time.
For Okudah to be playing that well after less than a week of camp is good news. The hope is he can continue to stack good practices on top of one another to help out the team and assert himself as a starter.
Jeff Okudah Tough College Corner
Okudah was dominant in college, which led to him being the No. 3 pick in the draft by Detroit. Folks might not realize just how good Okudah was unless they take a deeper look at the stats. Fortunately, Pro Football Focus gives a good look at that with a new statistic.
Last season, Okudah impressed by being the only player in college football not to allow a completion 15 yards or more. That’s an absurd number considering the offensive talent in the game.
Jeff Okudah: Only CB in the 2020 class to not allow a single 15+ yard catch in press coverage last season. pic.twitter.com/9qoXEsgNyL
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 9, 2020
In the past, players like Darelle Revis have been referred to as an island at cornerback. Truthfully, Okudah was the closest thing to that at cornerback in college football. While he enters the NFL with something to prove, it’s more than possible that Okudah already has the talent to be a lockdown franchise player in the league.
Jeff Okudah Impressing Duron Harmon Already
Speaking with the media, safety Duron Harmon talked about the evolution of his new team’s secondary, and admitted that Jeff Okudah has already impressed him in plenty of ways. Perhaps most notably, Okudah picked the brain of Harmon as it relates to cornerback Stephon Gilmore, one of his former teammates and one of the best cornerbacks in football.
On Zoom call with #Lions Duron Harmon. Spoke highly of rookie Jeff Okudah. Said, "the talent is there for sure." Said he was asking him questions about the Pats and Stephon Gilmore.
— Michael Stets (@Michael_Stets) August 11, 2020
Interestingly, Okudah has cited Gilmore as his favorite cornerback to watch, so he must have been thrilled to get one of his former teammates to compete with in Detroit. Clearly, the excitement and passion of Okudah is something that has captured attention around the facility this offseason. The rookie has a big job ahead of him, but with preparation like this, it would be easy to see him finding a way to obsess about how to be the best and then make it happen on the field.
Detroit’s new look secondary has plenty to learn and put together, but with Okudah, class is already in session and he’s asking all the right questions already.
He’s also been making some good plays in spots.
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