We take a quick midseason break to look at each of the Detroit Lions’ rookies
Detroit Lions‘ general manager Bob Quinn drafted a total of nine players in the 2020 NFL draft. Seven of those players made the initial roster this season.
I complied a rookie report on each of those seven players. Which includes their best trait, area they need to improve on the most, along with additional information.
2020 Statistics: 32 tackles, 12 defensive stops, targeted 38 times allowing 28 catches for 376 yards, 1 INT, 1 pass break up.
Quinn made cornerback Jeffrey Okudah the highest player drafted at his position since Shawn Springs in 1997. However, at the time, the Lions didn’t exactly need a cornerback.
They signed Desmond Trufant in the off-season and Amani Oruwariye was also coming off a solid rookie season. Not to mention slot corner Justin Coleman completing the trio.
One would assume that the Lions took the best player available on their draft board, regardless of positional need. Okudah fits head coach Matt Patricia’s scheme perfectly, which could have been another factor.
Although, there were rumors that Patricia preferred defensive tackle Derrick Brown at the time. That doesn’t matter now, Okudah was the pick and this is what he’s shown us so far.
Best trait: Run defense and tackling
Okudah is what one could call a “prototype player”, meaning he has the perfect physical skill and size to play his position. Including the make up to become an all-around star in this league.
It starts with his run defense and tackling, which are already amongst the best at the cornerback position. He ranks second out of all rookie defensive backs in run defense, sixth against all defensive backs in the NFL.
Out of 34 tackle attempts, he’s only missed two. Yes, when evaluating a cornerback, the most important aspect is coverage. However, the little things like being a willing tackler and playing against the run are what makes a winning football team.
Area of Improvement: Confidence in coverage
As mentioned, coverage is king in the NFL. Unfortunately for Okudah, he needs work in this area. At time it feels as if he doesn’t have confidence in his coverage abilities. He’ll play off, avoid pressing which gives opposing receivers too much cushion to work with.
It could be from scheme or coaching. Whatever it is, he’s made good progress so far and should continue to grow in coverage.