Lions vs. Bears: Jeff Okudah not expected to play Week 1

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

The Detroit Lions are not expected to have their top draft pick against the Bears

When the Detroit Lions decided to trade away their three-time Pro Bowl cornerback in Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, fans took solace in the fact the team owned the third overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

And with that pick, the Lions drafted Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah. It’s the highest selection a corner has been taken at in the draft since Barry Sanders roamed the backfield in Detroit. And the 21-year old prospect seemed to be worth it.

Projected by many draft analysts to possess the physical traits and athletic ability to become an instant starting-caliber NFL cornerback and potential All-Pro, Okudah figured to be the heir apparent to Slay in Motown.

Yet, a worldwide pandemic that led to a virtual offseason training program, the elimination of the preseason, and a truncated training camp clearly impacted Okudah’s development. And his play at training camp forced the Lions to be noncommittal when it came to the rookie’s starting status for Week One’s home opener against the Chicago Bears.

Now it appears whether Okudah will be named the starter or not against the Bears is irrelevant. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, the Lions’ first-round cornerback isn’t expected to play at all on Sunday due to a hamstring injury.

On the Lions’ injury report, Okudah was shown as being limited throughout the week with said hamstring injury. And on Friday, he was officially deemed questionable for Sunday’s divisional matchup.

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If the Detroit Lions are without Jeff Okudah against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, expect the newly-signed Desmond Trufant, Justin Coleman, and 2019 fifth-rounder Amani Oruwariye to start at cornerback for the Motor City. Oruwariye has earned this opportunity in his second season after having a strong showing in training camp where he often practiced with the first-team defense.