Detroit Lions: Jeff Okudah starting Week One still undecided

Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

It appears that the starting status of the Detroit Lions’ top draft pick is still undecided

This offseason, the Detroit Lions made a few bold moves. The team decided to part ways with the entire right side of their offensive line, waving goodbye to veteran starters Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner.

The Lions also cut ties with a player responsible for 14.0 sacks over the past two seasons in linebacker Devon Kennard. Opting instead to replace him with yet another former member of the New England Patriots. This time signing free agent linebacker Jamie Collins.

Finally, in what might have been the team’s boldest move, Detroit traded away three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. And, in turn, used their highest draft pick in a decade to select Ohio State stud corner, Jeff Okudah, third overall.

And while many, including myself, had Okudah penciled-in as the projected starter Week One against the Chicago Bears, the rookie’s performance in training camp so far has left that starting status up in the air.

Although Okudah’s play has been steadily improving according to his new defensive coordinator, Cory Undlin, whether he’ll start or not when the regular season kicks off soon is still unknown. Here’s what Undlin told the team’s official website on Sunday according to Tim Twentyman.

"“Undlin said missing out on spring football hurt everyone, especially rookies like Okudah. All Undlin is asking is that Okudah continues to stay on a steady trajectory. We’ll see what that looks like in terms of him starting or being a key reserve in two weeks when the season begins.”"

Amani Oruwariye gives the Detroit Lions’ top rookie more time

It appears the lack of a true offseason training program and the cancellation of the preseason could delay the starting debut for Okudah in Detroit, which is disappointing considering his draft status. But the Lions are equally confident second-year cornerback Amani Oruwariye is ready to start if Okudah needs more time to develop.

If you remember, Oruwariye made some noise late last season, racking up two interceptions while only starting in two games. A fifth-round selection out of Penn State last year, the 24-year old appears to be making a bid as a potential steal of his draft class.

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While it’s unfortunate to hear that Jeff Okudah’s development has been slowed due to the lack of a proper offseason training program, he’s certainly not alone. Fortunately for the Detroit Lions, the team is prepared to roll with Amani Oruwariye, Desmond Trufant, and Justin Coleman as their starting corners in two weeks if need be.