Image Credit: Ohio State Athletics
Okudah was a member of Ohio State’s 2017 signing class. A five-star recruit out of Grand Prairie, Texas, he recorded 17 tackles and appeared in all 14 games his freshman year. As a sophomore, he again appeared in every game and had 32 tackles. Before declaring early, he recorded 35 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 3 Interceptions, and 9 pass deflections. This earned Okudah first team all Big 10 and he was a unanimous All American.
Jeff Okudah is an excellent corner who is patient in press coverage and is rarely shaken by a release. This is due to his footwork, which is top-notch. Okudah also has excellent recovery speed. He uses the wide receiver’s eyes to key in on the ball when his back is turned, but has elite ball skills to break up and intercept passes. Past the catch, he’s not afraid to tackle, and is a very sure tackler.
Okudah’s game, despite being among the best, can always improve. In the run game, his eye discipline could be improved, and he tends to stay attached to blocks for too long. On release, he uses Feet over fluidity to turn his hips. Finally, there are some inconsistencies in digesting route combinations, and Okudah’s route anticipation has room for improvement.
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This team is in desperate need for a shutdown corner and Okudah fits right in, especially after the Lions traded standout corner Daruis Slay. Add in some progression to his game and Okudah could define the Lions defense for years to come. Overall, this is a great pick for the franchise as Okudah could provide a spark for a struggling pass defense. His playmaking ability could make him a star whose coverage takes away large portions of the field. With his talent, he has the ability to help anchor a defense in the backfield for a decade or more.