Jeff Okudah has had a disappointing start to his NFL career, so much so that he’s on a list of players fast approaching bust status.
After a rough rookie that was also impacted by injury, Detroit Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah was in line for a fresh start under a new coaching staff in 2021. But it was not to be, as a torn Achilles in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers sidelined him for the season.
The Lions took Okudah third overall in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, and they quite simply haven’t gotten much of anything from the investment over two seasons. Even when he was on the field in 2020, the results weren’t good (118.0 passer rating allowed in his coverage, according to Pro Football Reference).
The injuries have taken a toll on Okudah physically as well as mentally, as injuries of the sort he has had might (a core muscle injury ended his rookie season, and he actually had surgery on both sides last offseason).
Jeff Okudah makes list of ‘near bust’ young NFL players
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report made a list of eight young NFL players who are “dangerously close to bust status” looking toward the 2022 season. Okudah made it.
"Sometimes, the most important ability is availability. If you look back at some of the all-time NFL draft busts, injuries and an inability to stay healthy are a common theme.After playing in 10 games through his first two seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jeff Okudah is flirting with bust status simply because he hasn’t been on the field.The No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft played in nine games as a rookie. He missed time with injuries to his hamstring, shoulder and groin."
Better health would go a long way toward Okudah shedding any idea he’s close to being a bust, or that he will eventually be declared one unequivocally. There’s no doubt his third season is shaping up to be a pivotal one in his career.