Notes: Jeff Okudah gets national recognition for strong start to 2022

Pride of Detroit

One of the biggest questions facing the Detroit Lions defensive roster this season was what to expect from third-year cornerback Jeff Okudah. The former third overall pick was not only coming off a devastating Achilles tear from last season, but Okudah had also yet to play anywhere near expectations through the 10 games he had played prior to 2022. Injuries had forced his development to stall, and no one knew how he would look on the other end.

Through three weeks, though, Okudah has proven that it was far too early to count out the rest of his NFL career. Going up against the likes DeVonta Smith, Terry McLaurin and Justin Jefferson, Okudah has allowed just a total of 12 catches for 106 yards, no touchdowns and two pass breakups, per PFF. He’s also been one of the more reliable defensive backs on the team when it comes to run defense, ranking third on the team in solo tackles (14).

And while Okudah has been getting plenty of coverage locally for his promising start, he’s just now starting to make some waves nationally. Take Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, who smartly pointed out not only how well Okudah has defended some of the best receivers in the game, but how well those receivers did against other competition:

Okudah has been very physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage, which typically throws off the players’ route and messes with the timing for the quarterback. But even when he occasionally misses the press, he has the athletic ability to recover:

Here’s some more All-22 goodness provided by another national analyst:

And if you want to downplay Okudah’s performance against Justin Jefferson, saying he got safety help overtop on every play, you may want to check your facts there:

Overall, you have to be pleased with Okudah’s start, especially given that expectations for him this year were all over the place. His performance thus far has to be considered fantastic, even to the most optimistic of Lions fans.

  • The Detroit Lions offense has been extremely successful in the pass game getting the pass off to the intended target and avoiding pressures, sacks and throwaway:
  • Sticking with the fun graphs, this highlights just how ridiculous D’Andre Swift has been through three weeks. Get healthy, #32.
  • DetroitLions.com’s Dannie Rogers has a new podcast called “Off the Record.” In this week’s episode has the better half of two Lions players: Haley Graves—the fiancee of Josh Reynolds—and Kyndra Decker, wife to Taylor.

  • Now that Week 3 has passed, waiver wire priority changes from 2022 NFL Draft order to current NFL standings. That means the Lions no longer have the second overall priority. As ESPN’s Field Yates points out, they are tied for 14th now:

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