Detroit Lions’ Jeff Okudah not picky about taking cues from Matthew Stafford and receivers

Detroit Free Press

Maybe the tips Detroit Lions receivers Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones have been giving Jeff Okudah are a little too good.

The Lions’ rookie cornerback was impressive in practice Friday, when he made several big plays and came up with his first interception — off Matthew Stafford, no less.

“Being veteran receivers, they have a lot of nuggets to drop on me,” Okudah said, “whether it’s something they see in my technique, whether it’s just tips in general, I think they’ve been a really big help for me, as well as as the DBs in the room.”

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Okudah, the third overall pick in this year’s draft, took first-team reps with Desmond Trufant sitting out; he got his pick on a deep pass from Stafford to Jones.

“I’ve definitely been soaking it in from everyone,” the Ohio State product said, “whether it’s Marvin, whether it’s Chase Daniel, whether it’s Trufant. So I think gaining the perspectives from the different players on the team has been really enlightening for me.”

Stafford was impressed with Okudah’s pick — but was quick to remind reporters the interception technically didn’t count.

“The pick was on a free play, so I’m glad he made the pick,” he said. “But it was five yards offsides on the defense when I threw one up. But I’m glad he made the play. Like that’s good for our team that he’s making plays down the field. But like I said, that’s just an example of his ball skills. …

“He undercut another ball today and made a pass breakup on Kenny on an in-route that was really impressive, too. So he’s done some nice stuff. I’m happy for him.”

Okudah also has been impressed with Stafford.

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“Going against him, he’s putting the ball in really amazing spots,” he said. “I think sometimes like we’re in competition but I’m also in awe of the throws he can make.”

With the first week of padded practices drawing to a close, Okudah reflected on what he has learned about himself and how he can get better.

“I would say that for me it’s about laying down solid groundwork and finding something to get 1% better at every, single day,” he said. “So if I come in one day I might say that I’ll work on my press technique, I’m going to work on my eye discipline one day.

“So I think that in that sense it helps just to not get overwhelmed. If I just keep the vision smaller and then let the days stack up. Just gonna put our head down and just grinding.”

Stafford said Okudah is off to a good start as he acclimates to the NFL.

“I’ve seen a lot of corners come in, young guys, first couple days just trying to figure out speed of the game, physicality of the game, get their feet underneath them,” he said. “I think that was the case for him and a lot of our rookies, but he’s done a nice job progressing. 

“I think he’s got good ball skills. He’s a long guy. Can really run. I’m impressed with the way he goes to work every day. He’s doing a nice job on the practice field, he’s competing at a high level giving it everything he’s got. And really, that’s all you ask for.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Lions content

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