Look at the role of Look Rookie CB Jeff Okudah in defense

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The Lions selected cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third pick in the 2020 NFL Draft – the first corner selected in the top three in the draft since 1997 (Shawn Springs).

As the NFL has become a pass-first league, the position is becoming more and more valuable – as evidenced by the plethora of “carries” by other teams for a corner kick in the first draft.

After Detroit General Manager Bob Quinn decided to trade his best cover man Darius Slay earlier in the offseason, the Lions really needed to upgrade their local hall.

Even if Slay was still on the list, Okudah would still have been the likely choice.

So now that head coach Matt Patricia has a new toy to work with in the defensive field, what does that mean for defense?

Given the capital project that was used to select Okudah, expectations will be at an all time high.

Yes, the cornerback position usually has a fairly steep learning curve, but there have been many recent examples of players coming out of college and having had an immediate immediate impact.

However, the recruit’s job will not be easy if the Lions cannot resolve their anemia rush a season ago.

Clearly, Okudah will be the team’s long-term response to lock in the best receptors for opposing offenses.

Of all the players available for the Lions in third place, Okudah would be the most on the field the first year.

It is fair to mark Okudah as a starter without even playing a single NFL snapshot.

Fortunately, with veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant coming via the free agency, Okudah may not have to immediately cover the best opposing players.

Make no mistake, Okudah has the length, the flowing hip and the grip to really help with team coverage issues.

He excels in man-to-man coverage.

While in Ohio State in 2019, Okudah was in the field for 400 cover shots and only allowed 284 yards on 27 receptions.

When passers-by targeted him, he had three assists and only allowed one touchdown, which is good for a 45.3 quarterback.

It remains to be seen whether these stopping elite qualities in the Big Ten will translate to the next level.

Whatever the case, Okudah has the potential to be a Pro Bowl corner – sooner or later.

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