Grading the Detroit Lions last 10 top-10 draft picks
CB Jeff Okudah, No. 3 overall–2020
Okudah’s first two seasons were wrecked by injuries, including a Week 1 Achilles’ tear that cost him most of 2021. He played pretty well for a large chunk of last season, becoming something of a shut down corner (see Justin Jefferson in Week 3) and being a key component in run support.
Then things went off the rails, starting with a concussion that cost him Week 12. A bout with an illness that hit the Lions locker room came, as his level of play dropped off and he missed Week 18 with an “injury.”
Then the Lions remodeled their secondary in free agency, pushing Okudah down the depth chart and eventually out to the Atlanta Falcons in a trade.
Not totally through fault of his own, it did not work out for Okudah in Detroit. Drafting him was one of the last lingering mistakes from the previous regime.
TE T.J. Hockenson, No. 8 overall–2019
Hockenson was also traded, before last season’s deadline to the division rival Minnesota Vikings. Given the Lions’ history drafting tight ends in the first round (including one that’s to come in these grades), he was subject to much chagrin from fans from the moment he was drafted.
But Hockenson had a Pro Bowl campaign in his second season (67 catches for 723 yards), and followed that with a 61-catch season in 2021. Ultimately, the Lions weren’t going to pay him a market value contract extension and thus they traded him.
Ideally, Hockenson would have lasted more than three-plus seasons in Detroit. But he was a productive player, and he left a clear talent void on the Lions’ tight end depth chart.