While Jeff Okudah remains a key part of the Detroit Lions’ present and future, many folks within the fanbase continue to sleep on what the cornerback can do.
Okudah has spent the first few seasons of his career dinged-up, hampered by injuries that have slowed his development to a crawl. Even though that is the case, many folks haven’t forgotten about the former top pick, and that’s something which one of his trainers pointed out and reminded folks of recently.
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
Oliver Davis has been working with Okudah and works with several other players. As he said, while working with Okudah, he is getting vibes of Atlanta’s A.J. Terrell, who became an all-pro after bust rumblings set in early in his career after not much time on the field.
“Working with Jeff Okudah almost feels identical to when I started working with AJ Terrell. I hear all the sneak dissing and the “bust” rumors. Keep that same energy come September. I put my whole heart and soul into these guys. Results are guaranteed!,” Davis tweeted.
Terrell started his career off slow in 2020 with just 74 tackles and 1 interception, but was able to rebound for a solid 2021 season with 3 interceptions, 1 sack and 81 tackles. That was good enough for him to crack second-team All-Pro honors for last year.
Okudah being able to do something similar would be huge for not only him, but the Lions. Okudah has some major injuries to return off of, but if he can get that done, the Lions would benefit in a big way.
Okudah Looking Healthier for 2022 Season
Perhaps the best news for the Lions is how quickly the team has seen Okudah bounce back. Already, he’s been showcasing his progress this offseason. Okudah was lost after Week 1 in 2021 with an ugly ACL injury, and has had to rehab himself since. Not much has been said about his healing process this offseason, but a few key updates that have surfaced seem to show things going very well for the young player. Here’s a look at Okudah doing some workouts:
Considering where he was in September and October, this progress in health is a major positive to note. It certainly appears as if Okudah’s recovery is going well, and if that is the case, it would be big news for a Lions defense that needs him in 2022.
Many see the defensive backfield as a major weakness on the team even with names like Jerry Jacobs, Amani Oruwariye, AJ Parker and others on the roster. Okudah is a key part of that group, too, and he could serve notice of that if he is able to come into the offseason program healthy and making a difference.
Okudah’s Career off to Bumpy Start Statistically
To say that Okudah has not made the type of strides early in his young career that folks hoped for when he was a rookie is a major understatement. As part of a frustrating 2020 season that would end in a shoulder injury, Okudah put up just 47 tackles and 1 interception on the field. There was high hopes for a rebound in 2021, but Okudah was injured and lost for the year in Week 1. He has had to come back off a tough ACL injury, and as a result, folks have all but given up on the player. It doesn’t help that during the first game, he was chewed out for poor play:
In spite of things like this, the Lions haven’t given up on Okudah, and will want to see him make some strides in his health and development this year. There is no question with a solid and healthy season, Okudah can make some strides for the future as is predicted.