After Sunday’s preseason finale, Lions head coach Dan Campbell wasted no time to declare Jeff Okudah will be a starting corner.
The Detroit Lions overall didn’t have a great showing against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. That said, cornerback Jeff Okudah had a solid performance as he seemed set to beat out Will Harris for the starting job opposite Amani Oruwariye.
Harris’ usage against the Steelers was a telltale sign.
After the game, via SI.com, Lions head coach Dan Campbell talked about Okudah.
I feel like he’s been trending in the right direction now for two weeks. So, I would say he finished up strong, and he’s going in the right direction,
Campbell was then asked if Okudah had done enough to earn the starting job, or more specifically beat out Harris for it.
Yeah, I would say that. I would say it’s looking like that. There’s nothing after these two weeks that tells me that that’s not his job.”
Jeff Okudah starting a critical season in his career on right foot
After being taken third overall in the 2020 draft, Okudah was limited to nine games by injuries as a rookie. And he was not very good (or at times, probably fully healthy) when he did play.
A new regime was surely only good news for Okudah last year, in particular having Aaron Glenn as defensive coordinator and rising star Aubrey Pleasant a defensive backs coach. But a torn Achilles’ in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers ended his 2021 season before it really began.
Okudah posted his positive rehab progress at times on social media. The proof was ultimately in that pudding when he was not placed on the PUP list by the Lions, and was not going to enter training camp with any major restrictions.
A fifth-year option decision on Okudah is already looming next offseason for the Lions. To prove worthy of it, and perhaps more, the first step was getting back healthy and making it impossible not to make him a starter during camp and preseason. Mission accomplished, and Campbell did not waffle to declare it when the preseason slate was over.