By all accounts, Ohio State cornerback absolutely nailed his media session at the NFL Combine on Friday. He spoke with confidence, he displayed his football knowledge, and he even dunked on an ignorant reporter:
Someone who I'm guessing didn't watch much Jeff Okudah last year asked him about having "a tendency to get kind of sloppy."— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) February 28, 2020
Okudah's response: "I had zero pass interferences, zero holdings, so cut the tape on the game. I think you might see something else." pic.twitter.com/oQ3rrtP3q1
Justin Rogers of The Detroit News called Okudah’s session, “Impressive, in every way.” And while media sessions aren’t the most important part of the scouting process, Okudah also said something quite interesting to Detroit Lions fans: that he’d love to play alongside Lions Pro Bowler Darius Slay.
“I think it would be magical,” Okudah said per Rogers. ”I think it would be really tough for that division.”
Last month, Slay told local Detroit media at the Super Bowl that he had already been in contact with Okudah. Similarly, Slay thinks that playing together would make a pretty darn good one-two punch.
“Yeah, that would be,” Slay said. “We’ll see how it turns out.”
Since then, Okudah and Slay have been in contact bouncing ideas off each other, something the future first rounder says has been invaluable to him.
“Just being able to reach out to him, talk to him, use him as a resource really, I think it shows what kind of guy he is, because he doesn’t have to talk to me,” Okudah said.
Of course, the first hurdle in this on-field marriage is the future of Slay’s standing with the Lions. This week, Lions general manager Bob Quinn admitted that the team was exploring all avenues regarding Slay’s status, including a possible trade. Slay has made it clear he’d like an extension and would like it to be well above the $10 million he’s making right now. Though Quinn previously said he’s had good talks with Slay’s representation, it does appear the Lions are hesitant to give Slay the terms he wants.
As for Okudah, he’s done just about everything he can to justify the Lions taking him with the third overall pick. His measurements—6-foot-1 1/8 with a wingspan of 78 5/8th inches—are the prototype the Lions are looking for, and his physical man-coverage style of play matches what the Lions want... and Okudah knows that.
“Patricia, I know he’s a heavy man-to-man guy,” Okudah said. “Comes from the Patriots, they run a lot of man-to-man.”
Okudah says he plans on doing all of the drills this week, even though he’s already firmly established himself as the best cornerback in the draft this year. That kind of competitive spirit is going to be hard for the Lions to pass up, regardless of what the future holds with Slay.