2020: CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State; 3rd overall
The Lions went into rare territory to take a cornerback with a top-five overall pick. Okudah’s rookie season was dampened by injuries, and when he was on the field he wasn’t very good (Pro Football Focus’ 115th-ranked corner, 77.4 percent completion rate allowed). He missed the final four games with a groin injury, and actually wound up having core muscle surgery on both sides last offseason.
A new coaching staff stood to benefit Okudah greatly in 2021. But in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, he suffered a season-ending Achilles’ tear.
Okudah’s social media posts suggest he’s making good progress in his recovery, with training camp a possibility in some capacity. He’ll surely be someone the “Hard Knocks” cameras follow.
The bottom line is this–Okudah has played in 10 of a possible 33 games over two seasons. The 2022 campaign will be absolutely pivotal for him, with better health a good start to getting his career on track.
Pessimism reigns for Lions’ fans on Okudah right now. But as a bit of leniency, it’s hard to give him any sort of concrete grade.