You know it’s officially draft season when ESPN analyst Todd McShay drops his first official mock of the season. You can also tell it’s mock draft season when your team is starting David Blough at quarterback, Wes Hills at running back, and giving a guy named Frank Herron—who joined the team on a Tuesday—43 defensive snaps on the following Sunday... but that’s beside the point.
McShay based his mock on the current draft order—which has the Detroit Lions picking fifth overall, even though they’re narrowing in on a potential top three pick. With the fifth overall pick—and Chase Young long gone to the Giants at No. 2—McShay slot Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah to the Lions.
Okudah certainly fits the bill as a potential Lion. Head coach Matt Patricia (assuming he hangs around) loves his corners long and strong and able to play man-to-man often. Okudah, at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, is exactly that.
“The big and athletic Okudah has all the tools to be a No. 1 corner in the NFL and would be the sixth Buckeyes defensive back in the past five years to go in Round 1,” McShay wrote in his mock.
Okudah, who was named first team all-Big Ten earlier this month, has three interceptions on the year and 15 passes defended over the past two seasons. Earlier on Tuesday, our own Ryan Mathews made the case for Okudah in case Chase Young isn’t there.
“Ultimately, the Lions need help in the worst way on defense, and even though the best defensive talent is off the board, the team can prepare for life without Darius Slay by taking a teammate of Young with their first-round pick,” Mathews wrote.
With Darius Slay’s future very much hanging in the balance, cornerback certainly fills a need. The Lions pass defense currently ranks 30th in passer rating allowed and Detroit’s defense has the fewest interceptions in the entire league.
Even if Slay sticks around—and potentially even signs an extension—the Lions need someone who can both play opposite Slay and take over once the soon-to-be 29-year-old cornerback moves on from Detroit.
Okudah was just the second defensive player off the board after Young, meaning McShay slotted the corner to the Lions over Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown (went ninth overall) and Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa (went 29th!!).