Former Ohio State star Jeff Okudah has been traded by the Detroit Lions to the Atlanta Falcons, according to a report by Field Yates. Okudah was the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and was a unanimous All-American during his time in college. However, in his three seasons with the Lions, Okudah struggled with injuries and was only able to play in 25 games, failing to play every game in a season to this point in his career.
Despite his injury issues, Okudah has shown flashes of the talent that led to his high draft position. He has two career interceptions and 10 passes defended, but his biggest problem has been staying healthy enough to develop his full potential. Hopefully, his time in Atlanta will be different, and he can provide a high-upside option on the defensive side of the ball for the Falcons.
In exchange for Okudah, Detroit will receive a fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, according to Tom Pelissero. The trade has been confirmed by Okudah’s agent, and according to Yates, it was good for both sides and was made seamlessly by both teams.
This move gives Okudah a chance to start over in Atlanta, which could be the reset that his career needs. The trade came after he was named the team’s week one starter for the 2022 season, but his injuries continued to hamper him, causing him to consider his future in the league.
“I just had big hopes for that last year. It kind of felt like I was living a nightmare,” Okudah said. Despite the setbacks, Okudah remained confident heading into the 2022 season, feeling as though he was hungry to prove himself.
“They just kind of gave me the confidence that, you know, the Achilles will be the least of your worries. It will be about getting back mentally, taking care of the rest of your body. For me, that was really reassuring going into the process,” Okudah said.
“I feel like I’ve been hungry like I haven’t ate in years. That hunger has just been inside of me since the injury. Really, even before the injury, so I’ve had that feeling, man, it’s about to be two years. Just that hunger. So, I’m ready to go out there and just play to the best of my ability.”
Okudah will look to regain his form in Atlanta and provide a much-needed boost to their defense. The Falcons hope that by giving him a fresh start, they will be able to unlock his potential and unleash him on opposing offenses.