The Detroit Lions watched as Jeff Okudah struggled through a sloppy Week 1 performance on the field, but an injury was the last thing the team wanted to see for their young defensive back.
Sadly, once again, injury will provide another setback for Okudah to deal with early in his young career. Late on Sunday night, the team was worrying about a potential Achilles injury for their top young cornerback. By Monday morning, it appears their worst fears were proven true.
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According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Okudah suffered a ruptured Achilles in the game, which will end his 2021 season after just one week on the field.
In Week 1, Okudah was struggling, but injury was not something the Lions wanted to have to deal with. Cornerback is already one of the thinnest spots on the team’s roster, and as Pelissero said, Okudah did have a strong summer leading into the season. There was hope he could continue to learn on the job with quality coaching and improve throughout a full season. Now, he will be forced to rehab once again.
Last season, Okudah was dinged up in his rookie year and had to undergo a groin procedure which cost him time on the field. Now, this provides him with yet another setback that he will have to push through early in his time in the league.
Analyst: Now ‘Tough’ for Jeff Okudah to Live up to Billing
To say this is bad news for Okudah and the Lions is a bit of an understatement. Now, the young player who was already maligned after a tough rookie season on the field will get the injury prone label following a pair of injuries in his first two seasons in the league. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press points out, it might be extra tough for Okudah to live up to his stature as a top-three pick now.
As Birkett also pointed out, Okudah had a solid camp and enjoyed his work with new Lions’ defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant. That combined to make him a player on the rise for 2021, but the injury will simply complicate those matters now for the future in a big way.
Okudah’s Rookie Stats and Highlights
The rookie season wasn’t phenomenal statistically for Okudah, who only put up 47 tackles, 2 passes defended and 1 interception in 2020. 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 can turn this around quickly this season and have a much better showing. If he could be around 80 tackles and have closer to 5 interceptions in 2021, that would have to be seen as some huge strides forward and a major positive.
Here’s a look at some of his work last season:
Okudah has some talent to rely on so the hope is that he can bounce back from another injury and get ready for 2022. That’s the sad reality at this point in time for the young cornerback.
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