The Detroit Lions are two days into Organized Team Activities, but all has been quiet from Allen Park. With no media present, the only news we’ve gotten from Allen Park are a couple of photo galleries, a brief highlight reel, jersey numbers, and the unfortunate news of Joel Heath tearing his ACL.
While there will eventually be more information available once the media shows up to practice, for now, we’re left with just speculation.
So let’s speculate!
One of the more interesting positional battles this year will be at cornerback. With Desmond Trufant not returning, there’s one spot open in the starting lineup, and it’s unclear who will take it. The Lions brought in Quinton Dunbar to challenge for a spot, and they also drafted Syracuse cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu in the third round. With youngsters Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye looking to put a rough 2020 behind them, it’s unclear right now who is leading the charge.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who should the Lions’ two starting outside cornerbacks be in 2021?
My answer: Without a doubt, one has to be Jeff Okudah. The third overall pick in 2020 has the physical tools to succeed at this level, he just needs to find them again. And with him talking up the coaching staff and the coaching staff talking up him, there seems to be good reason for a Year 2 jump for Okudah.
The other outside corner spot is a little tougher to gauge. Amani Oruwariye has shown flashes of solid play, but he’s coming off a rough, inconsistent year. But if we’re giving Okudah a pass for poor coaching, we have to give Oruwariye the same excuse. Still, it’s hard to know what this new staff thinks of the former fifth-round pick, so I’m not penciling him in yet.
Instead, I’m going to give Quinton Dunbar the edge right now. In 2019, Dunbar had a season that likely should have landed him in the Pro Bowl. Though he only had four interceptions, he allowed a passer rating of just 56.9 and earned a PFF grade of 87.6—the second-highest among cornerbacks that year (only behind Richard Sherman).
Last year, Dunbar struggled due to injuries, off-the-field issues, and a change of scenery. I believe he’s landed in a fortunate spot to not only get a crack at the starting lineup again but to continue to develop and get better under a solid coaching staff.
A Dunbar-Okudah duo at cornerback may not be the kind of one-two punch that will draw a lot of headlines, but if both players can reach their highest potential, it could be one of the most underrated corner pairings in the league.
Who should be the Lions’ starting outside cornerbacks?
This poll is closed
Jeff Okudah & Amani Oruwariye
Jeff Okudah & Quinton Dunbar
Jeff Okudah & Ifeatu Melifonwu
Amani Oruwariye & Quinton Dunbar
Amani Oruwariye & Ifeatu Melifonwu
Quinton Dunbar & Ifeatu Melifonwu