Mon, 20 Sep 2021

CAMP SPOTLIGHT: Cornerback Jeff Okudah

Detroit Lions
01 Aug 2021, 20:25 GMT+10

Tim Twentyman

JEFF OKUDAH

Position: Cornerback

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 202

College: Ohio State

Experience: Second year

Outlook: After an up and down rookie season plagued by injury, Okudah is primed for a bounce-back second season and has looked really good through the offseason training program in the spring and at the beginning of training camp the last few days.

Okudah is healthy after undergoing core-muscle surgery last December and is playing with a confidence and poise about him we didn't see last year as a rookie. He's pretty cemented into one of the starting outside cornerback spots, and the Lions are expecting him to take a big leap in production in his second season.

"You will never make the biggest jump as you will make from year one to year two," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said this week. "You just won't. You see it over and over. I remember it as a player. You don't know what you don't know as a rookie. You're hanging on."

If Okudah plays as well as the Lions think he can, it will go a long way to helping this defense be much more consistent than it was a year ago.

Practice report: Okudah has had a strong start to camp, and that continued Saturday.

Quarterback Jared Goff went after him down the right sideline on a deep ball intended for Tyrell Williams in an early team period, but Okudah was blanketing Williams. The ball was a little overthrown and fell incomplete.

Watching Okudah at practice, one thing that's constant is every spare minute he's not in a rep he can be spotted not too far from defensive backs coach Aubrey Pleasant, asking questions and going over previous reps. Okudah is really a student of the game.

A little competition that's developed between Okudah and second-year running back D'Andre Swift is a race to the end zone after Swift takes a rep in early team drills. We've seen it every day so far. Swift will take a handoff and break through some contact, finishing the play all the way to the end zone. Okudah will chase after him, both going full out. It's fun to watch.

Williams got a little redemption on Okudah later in practice from the earlier incompletion on the deep ball by scoring in a red-zone 7-on-7 period. Williams ran a crosser, and Okudah got caught in some traffic over the middle. That allowed Williams to separate for the score.

Rookie wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown made a terrific shoestring catch at the 1-yard line in the same red-zone 7-on-7 period with Okudah all over him in coverage. It was a great catch by St. Brown, but it was also a good play by Okudah to touch him down to the 1-yard line short of the goal line.

Okudah also got some run on special teams Saturday coming off the edge on field goal block.

Overall, it was another solid day for the second-year cornerback out of Ohio State. He's had a strong start to camp.

Quotable: "I feel like it's night and day," Okudah said of where he's at to start his second training camp vs. his first a year ago. "Last season was really weird. Being able to end the season, have an OTA period, have a training period where I can go and pinpoint all the weaknesses and work on them and come to training camp - I think that's going to be a great help for me."

More Cleveland News

Access More

Sign up for Cleveland News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!