Image Credit: (Tim Fuller/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
With the 2023 NFL Draft in 16 days, there are teams that are looking to help build for the future. On one side they want to get as much draft capital to help build the team and on the other get players to help fill a tremendous weakness. This feels like what this trade involving Jeff Okudah is about. The Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a trade involving him and the details of it are down below.
Details of Jeff Okudah Trade Atlanta Falcons Acquire: CB Jeff Okudah Detroit Lions Acquire: 2023 5th Round Pick
Atlanta Falcons Side
It is not hard to see the Falcons side of making this deal. Excluding AJ Terrell and maybe Casey Hayward (When Healthy), their secondary last season was terrible. Easily in the Top 5 worst secondaries last season. They already upgraded it by signing Jessie Bates at safety, but they needed another cornerback on their defense badly. They had the cap space to bring him in and the extra 5th round pick they could give. So, the deal materialized and the Falcons now got Okudah on their roster. Getting Okudah is clearly a buy low move for the Falcons and Okudah still has potential to showcase his talent with a change of scenery he desperately needed.
Detroit Lions Side
As a former 3rd overall draft pick, Okudah has not lived up to the selection. He was abysmal during his rookie season. It did not help that former Lions head coach Matt Patricia originally did not want the Lions to draft Jeff Okudah to begin with.
Patricia wanted DT Derrick Brown, who currently plays for the Carolina Panthers. I am sure that him not wanting Okudah had an impact on Okudah’s development during his rookie season. Along with the Covid-19 Pandemic hitting, Okudah was just awful during his rookie season and it was not a good look
Luckily the Lions parted ways with Patricia and hired Dan Campbell to coach. A change of coaching definitely would have helped Okudah the next season and he was a guy I considered a potential comeback player of the year. Then came the Torn Achilles he suffered on the season opener of the 2021 season and he was out for the rest of the season. I mean just pure bad luck to Okudah and especially the Detroit Lions who I still believe is a cursed team.
Luckily, Okudah was healthy last season and played almost every game. He was pretty solid last season and was easily one of the better cornerbacks in the draft class.
Many say this is a bit of a head scratcher for the Lions moving Okudah, but I have a feeling with the investments they made in free agency and the 11.5 million 5th year option pending, it was best for them to part ways.
The one thing that I am a bit perplexed is that they could not get a Day 2 pick out of trading Okudah. I mean I get it to save money for a guy clearly not in future plans, but it feels like the Lions got fleeced a bit.
Grades for Jeff Okudah Trade Atlanta Falcons: A Detroit Lions: C+
The Falcons clearly win this trade as they have the cap space for Okudah’s contract and fill a big need for them The Lions don’t completely lose as they clear cap space, and get draft capital for a player not in their future, but definitely get a lower grade. This trade to me pretty much confirms the Lions will go cornerback with the 6th Overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so Okudah was likely out in Detroit. Overall good move by Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes and Atlanta Falcons GM Terry Fontenot.