Former Detroit Lions first-round draft pick Jeff Okudah has been in the starting lineup for the Atlanta Falcons for the past three weeks. And while his box score doesn’t look all that impressive thus far—just 10 tackles and two pass breakups—he’s been quietly improving and gaining more confidence.
Let’s take a closer look at how he’s doing in his new Atlanta home, along with a bunch of other former Lions who found new teams in 2023.
- Week 1 results: Several former Lions struggle in debut
- Week 2 results: Injuries plague former Lions
- Week 3 results: D’Andre Swift continues electric season with Eagles
- Week 4 results: Jeff Okudah solid in first Falcons start
Note: These are only players who were not brought back in 2023. For example, T.J. Hockenson was not included because we already saw him in a Vikings uniform in 2022. (He had six catches for 50 yards, if you want to know so bad).
RB D’Andre Swift — Eagles
Stats: 10 carries, 18 yards; 8 catches; 40 yards, 1 TD
For the first time this season, the Eagles run game was absolutely stuffed against an elite Jets defense. Still, Swift managed to make an impact in the receiving game, tying a career-high eight catches and turning that into 40 yards and this impressive score.
However, Swift did have a critical fumble in the game—one of four turnovers for the Eagles on the day in a losing effort.
That fumble erased an opportunity for the Eagles to score before the half, and the Jets took the opportunity to add a field goal and cut the lead to 14-9 after two quarters.
RB Jamaal Williams — Saints
Stats: On IR
Williams is now eligible to come off the injured reserve list, as he has missed four games with his hamstring injury. The Saints play on Thursday this week against the Jaguars, so it may be tough for Williams to turn his week around so quickly. However, he was listed as “limited” in the Saints’ Monday practice report, suggesting they he’s just about ready to come off IR.
WR DJ Chark — Panthers
Stats: 3 catches, 26 yards
Chark is basically WR3 in Carolina, repping at about two-thirds of the offensive snaps, lower than rookie Jonathan Mingo and veteran Adam Thielen.
C Evan Brown — Seahawks
Back at center after serving as an injury replacement at left guard in Week 4, Brown is continuing to have a relatively solid season in Seattle. He earned a 72.9 PFF pass blocking grade against the Bengals this week, allowing just two hurries and no quarterback hits.
Evan Brown in pass protection this season:— PFF SEA Seahawks (@PFF_Seahawks) October 12, 2023
4 pressures allowed
0 QB hits allowed
0 sacks allowed pic.twitter.com/Sj9Oo0zHUL
He did struggle with run blocking, however, earning just a 53.3 grade in that area.
LB Josh Woods — Cardinals
Stats: 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
Back after missing three games with an ankle injury, Woods continues to be a productive rotational piece to Arizona’s defense. He officially started against the Rams this week, notching 60 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and this nice tackle for loss. Somewhat surprisingly, Woods only contributed on six special teams snaps.
LB Chris Board — Patriots
Stats: No stats
Speaking of special teams, Board remains a core special teamer for the Patriots. He has yet to play on a defensive snap for New England, but his 150 special teams snaps is tied for most on the team—and tied for most in the NFL.
CB Mike Hughes — Falcons
Stats: 3 punt returns, 11 yards
Hughes is no longer part of the team’s defensive gameplan—he had played some nickel in the year. So on Sunday against the Commanders, he was solely the team’s punt returner, but did not make much of an impact in that aspect of the game.
CB Jeff Okudah — Falcons
Stats: 1 tackle, 2 pass breakups
After a bit of a down game against the Texans last week (59.7 PFF grade), Okudah rebounded quite nicely against the Commanders. Per PFF, he allowed just a single reception on five targets for 16 yards.
For the season, Okudah now sports an extremely solid 71.2 PFF grade, good for 27th among 111 qualifying cornerbacks—a single spot higher than Lions cornerback Cameron Sutton.
Our friends at “The Falcoholic” gave Okudah a “stock up” for his play against the Commanders.
“Okudah, in particular, had a pair of notable pass breakups, and his energy radiated outwards in those big moments.”
CB Starling Thomas — Cardinals
After being a healthy scratch for the first four weeks of the season, Thomas made his NFL debut last week with seven special teams snaps. This week against the Rams, Thomas made his defensive debut, playing a total of 25 snaps, mostly at outside corner. Per PFF, he allowed a catch of 6 yards on his only target in the game, but otherwise did not record a statistic.
S DeShon Elliott — Dolphins
Stats: 5 tackles
Elliott has been one of Miami’s best defensive players this year. He currently has a 78.3 PFF grade for the season, good for fifth best on the team and eighth among all NFL safeties.
It was a quiet week for Elliott against the Panthers, but he did record two defensive stops and a strong 71.2 PFF grade.