Jeff Okudah 2020 NFL Draft Profile
2020 NFL Draft
Jeff Okudah enters the 2020 NFL Draft as the top-rated cornerback, and he’s all but guaranteed to go very high in the first round. Okudah hopes to have the same NFL rookie impact as his recent Buckeye contemporaries. Since 1999, 10 cornerbacks from Ohio State have been selected in the first round of the draft, and we’re quite likely to see yet another one in 2020.
College Career: Okudah was able to jump right in and help as a freshman with the Buckeyes, playing in all 14 games as a freshman and recording 17 tackles. In 2018, his numbers improved with 32 total tackles and eight pass defenses. Okudah was even better in 2019, posting 35 total tackles, two forced fumbles, three interceptions and nine pass defenses. He decided to forego his senior season by declaring for the draft in 2020.
Strengths: Most scouts think very highly of Okudah. He’s mentally strong with good character, big, tough and quick. Okudah is a very versatile corner; he’s just as comfortable defending large tight ends as he is speedy wide receivers. With his excellent closing speed and lengthy reach, Okudah is adept at making the most of his opportunities, and he’s pretty strong as well. He won’t flinch when it’s time to go head to head with a running back who evades the rest of the defense.
Weaknesses: Okudah is young, and needs to develop some consistency if he’s going to blossom in the NFL. He’s going to see complex route combinations and will have to process information quickly while making split-second decisions at the professional level. Okudah needs a bit of technique work when it comes to the finer points of defending the stronger receivers, and sometimes becomes flummoxed with contain duties on runs outside the hash marks. The good news is that most of Okudah’s flaws can be fixed with some solid coaching and work on the practice field. The general consensus is that there aren't many downsides here.
Possible Fits: Depending on how things break, Okudah is in the conversation for one of the top three spots in the first round. A team that really wants him (and there will be plenty of teams who want him) will likely have to strike a deal with the Lions, who are sitting at No. 3 and could very well scoop Okudah up themselves. Thing is, that pick is going to carry a hefty price tag.
The good news for teams drafting slightly lower in the first round is that there are some quarterback-needy franchises up top who will probably be looking for signal-callers. Assuming the top OTs, QBs and edge rusher Chase Young go before Okudah he could slip down to the Panthers at No. 7. Carolina lost James Bradberry in free agency and could really use a top cornerback.
All things considered, unless we see some first-round trade shakeups, Okudah’s most likely destinations are probably Detroit and Carolina. He'll be an impact corner wherever he goes, though.