The Detroit Lions have one of the more promising and ascendent rosters in the NFL, especially among teams that haven’t made the playoffs yet as presently constituted.
They have made some nice draft choices in recent years, including defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, and recently departed tight end T.J. Hockenson.
But in 2020, Detroit made a draft blunder that continues to sting to this day.
With the No. 3 pick, they took cornerback Jeff Okudah, and after he didn’t pan out in his first three pro seasons, they traded him to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round draft pick.
It has made him only the second top-three pick in the last decade who has been traded less than three years after being drafted, with the other being quarterback Sam Darnold, who is widely considered a big bust.
Jeff Okudah is the 2nd player in the last decade to be drafted in the top-3 overall and traded less than 3 years after being drafted. The other was QB Sam Darnold, who was drafted by the Jets in 2018 and traded to the Panthers in April 2021. https://t.co/s1hBvGRfTF
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 11, 2023
Okudah, a native of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, had a stellar three seasons with the Ohio State Buckeyes, and in 2019 he was a unanimous selection to the College Football All-America Team.
But he hasn’t done a whole lot in his three NFL seasons so far.
Multiple injuries limited him to just nine games as a rookie, while a ruptured Achilles in Week 1 of 2021 prematurely ended his sophomore season.
Last season, he did somewhat better, appearing in 15 games and recording seven passes defended and a pick-six, but his production was still a far cry from what was initially expected of him in 2020 when he was considered the best cornerback prospect in that draft class.
Perhaps a change of scenery will allow Okudah to become something closer to the best version of himself.NEXT: Jeff Okudah Trade Reminds Lions Fans Of A Frustrating 2020 Draft