Unfortunately, Okudah got off to a slow start under former Lions head coach Matt Patricia, who seemed to make everybody on the team worse.
Then, once Okudah got a new head coach (and defensive coordinator) in 2021, he suffered an Achilles injury in the Lions' very first game of the season.
Detroit Lions coach not ready to ‘hang his hat' on Jeff Okudah excelling under the lights
Now, Jeff Okudah is fully recovered from his Achilles injury and according to most reports, he has played well during training camp practices.
The question is, will Okudah be able to shine when it's time to play in an actual game?
During a recent media session, Lions DBs coach Aubrey Pleasant said he wants Okudah's athleticism and football IQ to match up.
“I think mental health and his game are actually linked together,” Pleasant said. “So as he stays mentally where he needs to be and focus on the small things like his technique, communication, the eye discipline, I think his game is going to continue to progress. I think everybody in here knows, whether you know football or not, Jeff Okudah is a very good athlete. You just watch football, so let’s make that athleticism catch up to the football IQ.”
Pleasant then added that he is not yet comfortable “hanging his hat” on Okudah being a player who will show up when the bright lights come on.
“You guys probably don’t believe it, but there’s some guys that are called practice players who go out there and practice and they make everything right and they do it right but yet under the lights they’re not able to excel,” Pleasant said. “And by no means am I saying that with Jeff, but I don’t feel comfortable enough to hang my hat on that until I actually see it as a coach. But again, for him to finish the way he did, (having a pass breakup after a rough start) before his injury that first game last year is promising.”
Nation, how do you think Jeff Okudah will fare in 2022 with the Detroit Lions?