Detroit Lions Position-by-Position Preview: Jeff Okudah and Friends, Inc.

  • 2020 NFL Season
  • Darius Slay
  • Detroit Lions
  • Jeff Okudah
By Sammy Bovitz August 1, 2020 0 Comment

The Detroit Lions’ defensive line is a little lackluster, but the secondary gives the defense hope for one primary reason. That reason is named Jeff Okudah, and he’s not the only thing this secondary has going for it.

A sneakily solid secondary

Jeff Okudah is the next face of this Lions defense that has revolved around a cornerback for a few years.  The trade of Darius Slay back in March set the stage for Detroit to select Okudah with the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft. It’s no secret that Jeff Okudah is worth that selection. For one, he’s one of the more explosive corners we’ve seen out of the draft in a while. For another, the Lions still need lots of help on defense, and Okudah was the best defensive player they could get in this year’s draft not named Chase Young.

But Okudah is not exactly carrying this secondary. Desmond Trufant is a very solid secondary corner, and the former Pro Bowler will complement Okudah nicely while potentially emerging as a solid mentor figure. Duron Harmon is a former Patriot (sound familiar?) who has stuck around long enough in Foxborough to have won three championships. While he isn’t the most impressive starting safety, he’ll certainly bolster their secondary further. The secondary is rounded out by 2018 third-round pick Tracy Walker. Sure, this lineup isn’t the most impressive, but it is leagues better than that defensive line. Not only that, but it will also probably stay around league average. They could potentially be higher depending on how the duo of Okudah and Trufant shake out. While Slay and Quandre Diggs will certainly be missed, it’s a credit to the front office for persevering and rebuilding this secondary on the fly.

A brief look at special teams

Before this look at the 2020 Lions wraps up, it’s worth checking in on the special teams unit. Matt Prater returns as the kicker, and he’s still one of the more reliable ones in the league. Since joining the Lions full time in 2015, Prater has only missed two extra points in the last three years. While he’s been slightly less automatic in the field goal department, his presence on the roster means the Lions have one less position to worry about.

Jack Fox will handle punting duties, replacing longtime Lion Sam Martin, now with the Broncos. Fox hasn’t been a pro punter and has split time with the Chiefs’ and Lions’ practice squads. But he appears to be the Lions’ pick, and time will tell how that shakes out. Jamal Agnew will take returning duties, and while he hasn’t been particularly strong since 2017, he seems to be the guy regardless.

Roster Wrap Up

Let’s now take one last look at the Lions’ overall strengths and weaknesses. Despite recent COVID-19 diagnoses for Kenny Golladay and TJ Hockenson, the Lions still have a multidimensional and dynamic offense. On the defensive side, Jeff Okudah leads a sneakily good secondary that could surprise the NFC North this year, and Matt Prater is a solid kicker. However, the Lions’ defensive line is very questionable, as are the abilities of head coach Matt Patricia. This team is both exciting and flawed, so naturally, the season as a whole will be fascinating to watch.

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