The Detroit Lions have a few players who could be called Pro Bowl snubs, and cornerback Jeff Okudah has surfaced on a list of them.
One Detroit Lion (center Frank Ragnow) earned a Pro Bowl selection, while nine are alternates. A case can be made for a few guys as snubs (Amon-Ra St. Brown, Penei Sewell, Taylor Decker, Jared Goff even).
Cornerback Jeff Okudah is not one of the nine Lions who are a Pro Bowl alternate. But that’s not to obscure the resurgent season he has had as the team’s No. 1 corner, even if he didn’t stand out widely as as a snub. How bad Detroit’s pass defense has been on the whole this season didn’t help his case.
Fans, players and coaches around the NFL surely haven’t shaken the early track Okudah was on to being a draft bust. Pro Bowl voting, as it is with any All-Star game selection process, amounts to a popularity contest which just can’t be won sometimes.
Jeff Okudah fairly surprisingly surfaces on list of Pro Bowl snubs
The lists of Pro Bowl snubs are naturally out far and wide on Thursday, with some obviously listed as the low-hanging fruit. But Mike Giddings of The 33rd Team, to his credit, went a little deeper.
Okudah makes Giddings’ list, and he would have the Lions’ cornerback replacing Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander.
"My problem with Alexander goes back to the opening week of the season when Minnesota blew out the Packers, 23-7: Green Bay never matched him up on Justin Jefferson. Instead, he covered K.J. Osborn in the slot. The Packers used him more as a matchup corner after that, but I never got over that first game. Okudah is the Lions’ most consistent corner, and he’s finally playing healthy. If you remember, Detroit’s defense was so bad the first half of the year the coordinator was fired. But Okudah has stayed on the field, has a great attitude and is playing like a shut-down cornerback. In fact, he’s been playing matchup corner and playing it well. Look at their first game of the season against Philadelphia where it was basically a pick your poison scenario between A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Okudah locked down DeVonta Smith, who had no catches on four targets. He’s played to his draft status, and he’s stayed healthy."
Alexander stands out as a Pro Bowl selection made based on reputation more than what he has done this season. He has not had his best season, but in the voting process his name stands out while Okudah has taken a step to turning around his career narrative this year.
Okudah is down the list of the easiest and most obvious Lions’ Pro Bowl snubs. But there’s certainly a case for it, and it’s nice to see someone from an increasingly prominent outlet taking the stance.