Detroit Lions DC Aaron Glenn says Jeff Okudah ‘Has to improve’

Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has commented on the state of the team's secondary, which has been a major focus at the combine. Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs are set to return as starters for the Lions in 2023, but Okudah was benched towards the end of last season, and the majority of the team's depth in the cornerback position is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Glenn attributed Okudah's late-season struggles to the nature of the cornerback position and emphasized that he, like the rest of the defense, needs to improve.  

Jeff Okudah Aaron Glenn

Key points:

  • Detroit Lions are seeking upgrades to their secondary at the combine.
  • Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs are returning as starters in 2023.
  • Okudah was benched late in the season due to struggles in coverage.
  • The majority of the Lions' depth at the cornerback position is set to become unrestricted free agents.
  • Glenn acknowledged the nature of the cornerback position and stated that Okudah needs to improve, along with the rest of the defense.
  • Glenn emphasized the importance of the demeanor and personality of a cornerback.  

The Big Picture: Aaron Glenn says Jeff Okudah must improve in 2023

The performance of a team's secondary is critical to its overall success in the NFL. Jeff Okudah, as the team's No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft, is a critical part of the Lions' plans. However, Okudah's late-season struggles have raised concerns about his ability to perform at a high level consistently. The Lions' success in the upcoming season will depend, in part, on Okudah's ability to improve and maintain a high level of play.  

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“He has to improve,” Glenn said. “I will say that, along with everybody else on our defense. And he knows that, and he did improve. But there is always going to be peaks and valleys when you play that position. You try to stay at the top as much as you can. But it's hard. It's hard. But I'll tell you what, he is busting his butt. His trying his butt off to be at that top of the peak all the time.”

Jeff Okudah By the Numbers

Okudah held opposing quarterbacks to a 59.7% completion rate on passes thrown in his direction last season, according to Pro Football Reference.

  • Okudah struggled in coverage during December games against the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers.
  • Okudah was benched for most of the second half of the Lions' Week 16 loss in Carolina and split playing time with Mike Hughes in a Week 17 win over the Chicago Bears.
  • Okudah missed the season finale due to an elbow injury.  

Okudah's numbers show that he is capable of holding opposing quarterbacks to a relatively low completion rate. However, his struggles toward the end of last season are cause for concern. The fact that he was benched and split playing time with Hughes also suggests that the coaching staff was not entirely confident in his abilities. If Okudah can improve and maintain a high level of play, he has the potential to be a valuable asset to the Lions' defense.  

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