Struggling CB Jeff Okudah could still be traded by the Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions‘ approach to free agency this year signaled that they were not content with their starting lineup from last season. With the possibility of the Lions drafting a cornerback in this year's draft, it's no surprise that they might consider trading former No. 3 overall pick, Jeff Okudah. Although his trade value may not be high, there are almost certainly some general managers out there who have not forgotten Okudah's impressive college career and are convinced that they can fix him.

Jeff Okudah Aaron Glenn Detroit Lions

Key Points

  • The Lions have added to their secondary and they could consider trading Okudah
  • Okudah was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft
  • Okudah has struggled with the Lions
  • The Lions' free agency approach signals they are not content with their current roster
  • Okudah may still have value to other teams despite his struggles

Jeff Okudah By The Numbers

Analyzing Jeff Okudah's advanced defense and fumbles statistics since 2018, the following observations can be made:

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  • In his rookie season (2020), Okudah played in 9 games, starting 6 of them:
    • He recorded 1 interception.
    • He was targeted 53 times, allowing 41 completions (77.4% completion rate).
    • He conceded 594 yards, averaging 14.5 yards per completion and 11.2 yards per target.
    • He allowed 2 touchdown passes, with a passer rating of 118.0 when targeted.
    • He recorded 47 combined tackles, with 5 missed tackles (9.6% missed tackle rate).
  • In 2021, Okudah played in only 1 game due to injury:
    • He did not record any interceptions.
    • He was targeted 4 times, allowing 3 completions (75.0% completion rate).
    • He conceded 109 yards, averaging 36.3 yards per completion and 27.3 yards per target.
    • He allowed 1 touchdown pass, with a passer rating of 156.2 when targeted.
    • He recorded 4 combined tackles, with no missed tackles.
  • In 2022, Okudah played in 15 games, starting all of them:
    • He recorded 1 interception.
    • He was targeted 77 times, allowing 46 completions (59.7% completion rate).
    • He conceded 681 yards, averaging 14.8 yards per completion and 8.8 yards per target.
    • He allowed 1 touchdown pass, with a passer rating of 87.6 when targeted.
    • He recorded 73 combined tackles, with 6 missed tackles (7.6% missed tackle rate).

Important observations:

  • Okudah's completion rate allowed has improved significantly from his rookie season (77.4%) to his 2022 season (59.7%).
  • His passer rating allowed has also shown improvement, dropping from 118.0 in 2020 to 87.6 in 2022.
  • Despite the improvements, Okudah still conceded a high average of yards per completion (14.8 yards in 2022), indicating potential struggles in limiting big plays.
  • His missed tackle rate has improved from 9.6% in 2020 to 7.6% in 2022, suggesting better tackling efficiency over time.
  • Okudah has recorded only 2 interceptions in his three seasons, which could be an area of concern for a top cornerback prospect.

Big Picture: Jeff Okudah's uncertain future with the Detroit Lions

As the Detroit Lions look to rebuild and restructure their team, it seems more and more likely that cornerback Jeff Okudah, the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, could be on the trading block. A glance at Okudah's performance (source: Pro Football Reference) reveals why the Lions might be considering parting ways with the promising young player.

Jeff Okudah Stats via Pro Football Reference

To begin with, Okudah's injury history is a major concern for the Lions. He played only nine games in his rookie season due to a groin injury, and his sophomore campaign was cut short after just two games by a ruptured Achilles. This raises questions about his durability and whether he can hold up over the long term, especially in a position that demands such physicality.

Despite being a high draft pick, Okudah has not lived up to the expectations that come with such a selection. He recorded only two interceptions, 124 combined tackles, and ten passes defended in his limited time on the field. While it's important to consider the impact of his injuries on these statistics, it's hard to argue that he has made the kind of impact that warrants a top-three draft pick.

The financial aspect of a potential trade cannot be ignored, either. Okudah's rookie contract carries a significant cap hit, and the Lions could use that money to address other positions of need. By trading Okudah, Detroit would free up valuable cap space, allowing them to invest in other positions and bring in free agents who could help turn the franchise around.

Jeff Okudah signed a 4 year, $33,528,544 contract with the Detroit Lions, including a $21,944,396 signing bonus, $33,528,544 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $8,382,136. In 2023, Okudah will earn a base salary of $1,010,000 and a roster bonus of $4,172,074, while carrying a cap hit of $10,668,173 and a dead cap value of $5,486,099.
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Lastly, the cornerback market is hot right now. With several teams in need of help at the position, the Lions could capitalize on Okudah's potential and trade him for valuable draft picks or players that can contribute immediately. It's worth noting that this year's draft class is deep at the cornerback position, so Detroit could potentially find a more cost-effective replacement through the draft.

Bottom Line: Okudah trade could benefit both Lions and interested teams

Jeff Okudah undoubtedly possesses immense talent, but his injury history, lack of on-field production, and financial implications make it increasingly likely that the Detroit Lions will explore trading him. By doing so, they could signal a new era for the franchise, free up cap space, and potentially acquire valuable assets in return. As the offseason continues, expect the Okudah trade rumors to heat up.

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