Heading into his third season in the NFL, this could be considered a make-or-break year for Jeff Okudah. In his rookie year, Okudah ranked 127th out of 135 qualifying cornerbacks via Pro Football Focus. For a former third-overall pick, that is quite the disappointment, but he did have a lot working against him like dealing with injuries, playing under Matt Patricia and a brutal schedule that immediately matched him up against some of the best receivers in the NFL. So heading into Year 2, many were able to forgive and forget, but as we know, a terribly unfortunate Achilles injury cut his season short halfway through Week 1.
Cornerback is arguably the toughest position to play in the NFL, and there is this prevailing belief that we should give a CB around three years before we can truly judge them as a player. If Okudah wants to prove that he belongs, it has to be right now.
Okudah seems to be getting close to his return and will hopefully be ready to practice fully by training camp. Any belief that there would be a possible transition to safety following his injury was quickly shot down by Okudah himself during media availability this past week.
The competition at CB is going to be fierce and Okudah has a lot of work to do if he wants to stick around, but I’m sure he wouldn’t want it any other way.
Today’s Question of the Day is...
What are your expectations for Jeff Okudah heading into 2022?
The starting point for Okudah is to simply stay healthy. His career has been derailed so far mostly due to injuries, and while bad luck has a lot to do with that, he’ll be heading straight into “bust” territory if he starts to miss more time.
From there, I have a lot of belief that this coaching staff will be able to get the best out of Okudah and tap into what he once had. We’ve seen coaches Aaron Glenn and Aubrey Pleasant work miracles on UDFAs like Jerry Jacobs and AJ Parker already. Imagine what they could do with a former third-overall pick.
If Okudah can prove that he can stay healthy and lock down a starting job for a full season, then that’s a small win, but I’d like to see more than that considering the investment that was made in him. The Detroit Lions have also invested a ton of resources into the pass rush, which should give the corners some more breathing room. I’m hoping to see Okudah grade out at the very least in the top 30-40 percent of cornerbacks. Anything better than that is a bonus and that, to me, would be a nice season for him to build on.