The Detroit Lions are pushing forward with a rebuilt roster, and very few mistakes from the past regime still linger for the team heading into the 2022 season after a few consecutive offseasons of restructuring.
Still, in the eyes of some analysts, there is one lingering issue for the team in terms of a player who has been a major bust for the roster that the franchise hasn’t been able to depend on up until this point.
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Before the 2022 NFL draft, Bleacher Report took a closer look at every team’s biggest draft bust over the last 10 years. In terms of the Lions, a player the team is counting on to do some big things in the 2022 season was already being called out as a bust in spite of being selected just a few short years ago.
Cornerback Jeff Okudah was the pick for the Lions, and Kay admitted that while it could be too quick to call Okudah a bust, “the clock is ticking” for him to start on getting things going in the right direction.
There is still hope for the 23-year-old to become a quality NFL player, but injuries and poor play have him dangerously close to becoming one of the biggest draft busts in Detroit history.
Indeed, the pressure is on Okudah to turn things around fast for the Lions, but that’s what the team should expect after an offseason full of learning and rehab so far. If Okudah isn’t going to be a bust, 2022 will be the right time for him to begin to prove it.
Okudah Working Hard to Forge 2022 Comeback
Off last season’s untimely ACL injury, Okudah has been working harder than ever to come back strong for the 2022 season. He knows the importance of the year not only for himself to try and shed such labels from the media, but also the team as well. A resurgent Okudah would give the Lions major depth at cornerback, and could also provide the team another stable player with which to rely on at a key position on the field.
So far, Okudah looks great as some of the videos posted show him moving around fluidly and looking well. The next step for Okudah is finding a way to elevate his play and show an understanding of the team’s defense. Unfortunately, he was robbed of the chance to do this during the lost 2021 season, when that growth could have played out from Week 1 until Week 17 for Detroit.
Okudah’s Rookie Stats and Highlights
The 2020 rookie season wasn’t phenomenal statistically for Okudah, who only put up 47 tackles, 2 passes defended and 1 interception before losing 2021 entirely. The cornerback fought injury most of his rookie season and was never completely right, and also may have never felt comfortable with the coaching he was being given by Matt Patricia and company. As a result, Okudah struggled as a rookie and was often picked on by the opposition leading to some rough days on the field like he experienced early in the season in Green Bay. The stats didn’t show a player primed to make a huge impact, but it’s more than possible that Okudah could turn this around quickly this season and have a much better showing if healthy. If he could be around 80 tackles and have closer to 3 interceptions in 2022, that would be seen as a huge stride forward.
Here’s a look at some of his work when he last played:
Okudah has some talent to rely on so the hope is that he can bounce back from another injury and get ready for 2022. So far, that’s what’s been happening. Perhaps in time, Okudah won’t have to see himself included as a bust on lists such as these.
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