After months of speculation, the Detroit Lions finally made their selection with the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. And it fills their biggest need.
After posting a disappointing 3-12-1 record in 2019, the Detroit Lions earned themselves the third overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. And after months of speculation and endless mock drafts, we finally have their decision.
On Thursday night, the Lions stayed put and selected Ohio State cornerback Jeffery Okudah with the third overall selection. Okudah’s name has been connected with Detroit for most of the offseason, and for good reason.
Considered the top cornerback in this draft class, Okudah now steps into the shoes for former Lion defensive back, Darius Slay. A three-time Pro Bowler, Slay was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles last month in exchange for a third and fifth-round pick in this draft leaving a major void for Detroit to fill.
The Lions signed free agent Desmond Trufant this offseason to a two-year, $21 million deal to help cushion the blow of Slay’s loss. Detroit also inked cornerback Justin Coleman to a four-year, $36 million contract last year.
The addition of Okudah appears to complete the secondary in the Motor City for the foreseeable future. Especially if the highly-touted rookie lives up to the hype.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein compared Okudah to another former first-rounder, the Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson, who was the fifth overall selection back in 2011 out of LSU. Peterson is also an eight-time Pro Bowler.
At 6-foot-1, 205-pounds, Okudah is the prototypical NFL cornerback with excellent length (32 5/8-inch arms) and speed (4.48-forty). Last season, he recorded 34 total tackles, three interceptions, nine pass deflections, and a forced fumble in 13 games for the Buckeyes. It’s also important to remember that opposing quarterbacks were likely trying to actively avoid his side of the field as much as possible.
Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network called Okudah the best cornerback prospect since Jalen Ramsey and argued that he should be a consideration for the Washington Redskins at No. 2 overall instead of his Ohio State teammate, pass rusher Chase Young.
With eight more selections remaining in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions will continue to address their roster needs over the next three days. But, in Jeff Okudah, they’ve landed themselves to top cornerback prospect in the draft and secured their secondary going into a pivotal season.