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2020 NFL Draft: Detroit Lions select CB Jeff Okudah third overall

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Forgoing a trade, the Lions chose the Ohio State cornerback with the third overall pick.

Big Ten Football Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

With the third pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions have selected cornerback Jeff Okudah.

Star corner Darius Slay’s departure in March left a gaping hole in the Lions defense. Now the No. 1 cornerback is Okudah’s for the taking.

He’s now the highest-drafted corner since fellow Buckeye Shawn Springs also went third in 1997. He joins only three others in the history of the NFL have been drafted in the top three picks.

The 6-foot-1 Buckeye weighing 205 pounds recorded 83 tackles, 18 pass breakups, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble in 35 games over three years from 2017-19.

Drafting a press-man corner who can make an impact on the field day one was the expected move, given the Lions win-now mentality. He joins Justin Coleman and recently-signed veteran Desmond Trufant, who is believed to help replace the departures of Slay and Rashaan Melvin.

Reports circled up until the morning of the draft claiming the Lions were heavily engaged in trade talks for their coveted No. 3 pick.

It was widely rumored the Miami Dolphins would trade up to nab a quarterback, like Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Justin Herbert, and hand over their No. 5 pick to Detroit. The Lions were also said to be considering trading with the New York Giants for their No. 4 pick.

Something that may have played a factor in the Lions decision not to trade the third pick could have been the circumstances of the draft. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced teams to pick from makeshift war rooms at home and the threat of communication breakdowns emphasized the pressure to get deals done early.

In fact, general manager Bob Quinn said on a Zoom press conference call last week just that—because of the draft conditions, he preferred finishing a deal beforehand. When it came to as big of a decision as a third overall pick, he said it was unlikely he’d be working out trade details while on the clock and speaking with his team over technology. By Thursday afternoon, Quinn said the Lions would have a “pretty good” idea of the direction the team wanted to head.

And that direction was forgoing trades and keeping that prized No. 3 pick for their own.

With this pick, the Lions are finished in the opening day of the draft, but could still trade up late.

Lions remaining picks

  • Round 2, Pick 3 (35 overall)
  • Round 3, Pick 3 (67 overall)
  • Round 3, Pick 21 (85 overall) - from Eagles
  • Round 4, Pick 3 (109 overall)
  • Round 5, Pick 3 (149 overall)
  • Round 5, Pick 20 (166 overall) - from Eagles
  • Round 6, Pick 3 (182 overall)
  • Round 7, Pick 21 (235 overall) - from Eagles via Patriots

Top remaining needs for Lions:

  • Defensive tackle
  • Offensive guard
  • Wide receiver
  • Edge defender
  • Running back
  • Cornerback

NFL Draft schedule

Day 1

What: Round 1
When: Thursday, April 23 — 8 p.m. ET until around 11 p.m.
TV: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network
Online streaming: ESPN app, NFL Network Live
Online streaming for Draftathon charity event: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook
POD live show: Twitch.tv/PrideOfDetroit
Lions picks: Third overall

Day 2

What: Rounds 2 and 3
When: Friday, April 24 — 7 p.m. ET until around 11 p.m.
TV: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network
Online streaming: ESPN app, NFL Network Live
Online streaming for Draftathon charity event: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook
POD live show: Twitch.tv/PrideOfDetroit
Lions picks: Round 2, Pick 3 (35); Round 3, Pick 3 (67); Round 3, Pick 21 (85)

Day 3

What: Rounds 4 through 7
When: Saturday, April 25 — Noon ET until around 7 p.m.
TV: ABC, ESPN, NFL Network
Online streaming: ESPN app, NFL Network Live
Online streaming for Draftathon charity event: YouTube, Twitch, Facebook
Lions picks: Round 4, Pick 3 (109); Round 5, Pick 3 (149); Round 5, Pick 20 (166); Round 6, Pick 3 (182); Round 7, Pick 21 (235)