Jeff Okudah – Cornerback
Case for: While the defensive line was much-maligned, the Lions’ secondary also had major issues in 2019. Pairing the best defensive back prospect in the draft across from Darius Slay could help solve that pretty quickly.
Alternatively, if Slay indeed ends up getting traded, having a young guy with a ton of upside like Okudah could also end up being an essential replacement. Either way, the Lions need to heavily consider making their first pick a defensive back.
This would mark the third time in the last four years that Ohio State would have the first cornerback taken in the NFL Draft. If Purdue is indeed ‘The Cradle of Quarterbacks’ as it claims to be, then Ohio State has a strong claim as the Cradle of Cornerbacks.
Case against: Historically, corners just don’t get taken this high. Not recent stars Jalen Ramsey, Patrick Peterson, or Darrelle Revis, and not even legends of the game like Deion Sanders and Charles Woodson. All were the first defensive backs taken in their draft years, none made it as high as #3 overall. You need to go all the way back to 1997 for the last time a cornerback was taken in the top three (Shawn Springs, also from Ohio State).
It’s also worth noting that at this time last year, many considered Greedy Williams as the top overall cornerback and a possible fit for the Lions at the 8th pick. Somewhere along the way, Williams saw his stock take a nosedive, with eight other defensive backs taken ahead of him before Cleveland scooped him up in the second round..
However: If the Lions decide that Okudah is their guy, they have a great opportunity to maximize the value of that pick. Even trading down just a few spots could land them with an extra first round or early second round pick, maybe to use for the player you’ll read about next.