When the Detroit Lions used the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to select CB Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State, plenty of fans automatically assumed he would come in and dominate NFL receivers right off the bat.
But for those who understand how the league works, they realize that dominating as a rookie is an exception to the rule, rather than THE rule.
Before the Lions even selected Okudah with the No. 3 pick, I tried to warn people that it was no guarantee he would even begin the season as a starter. This warning was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it could limit the number of practice reps he would get compared to what a rookie would get in a normal season. (To be fair, I still would have said there was an 90% chance he would start)
Well, here we are and by all accounts, Okudah has struggled in training camp and it seems likely that he will not be a starter for the Lions in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears.
But Okudah’s struggles (he has also done some good things in practice) are only part of the reason he probably will start the season on the bench.
The other factor in this equation is second-year CB Amani Oruwariye, who has taken his game to another level, making him a better option (at this moment) than Okudah to start the season.
But how much will Okudah play in Week 1?
Well, according to Kyle Meinke of MLive, he said he would be surprised if Okudah played more than 15-20 defensive snaps against the Bears.
Ever since the news came out that Okudah would likely start the season on the bench, plenty have freaked out, some even going as far as calling him a bust and ripping Lions’ GM Bob Quinn for using the No. 3 pick on a player who cannot even crack the Week 1 starting lineup.
To those people, I have one thing to say….
TAKE A BREATHE!!!
I understand that you were hyped for the Lions to select Jeff Okudah and I understand (kind of) that you thought he would be a big difference-maker in his rookie season.
But this is the NFL. Okudah may be behind at this moment in time, but he has the work ethic and the brains to get on track as the season goes on.
I will say it again. Jeff Okudah will be a Pro Bowl player but it will not be until his third season in the league that he starts to dominate. And guess what? That is perfectly ok.