Jeff Okuda joins a small active club of failed top picks

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Caleb Farley as the 22nd selection by the Indianapolis Colts during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)

The Detroit Lions have one of the more promising and ascending rosters in the NFL, especially among teams that have yet to make the playoffs.

They have produced some good draft choices in recent years, including defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and the recently departed TJ Hockenson.

But in 2020, Detroit made a huge mistake that continues to this day.

With the No. 3 pick, they took cornerback Jeff Okudah, and after he did not pan out in his first three pro seasons, they traded him to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round draft pick.

This made him only the second top-three pick in the last decade to be traded less than three years after being drafted, the other being quarterback Sam Darnold, who is widely considered a big bust. .

Okudah, a native of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, had an impressive three seasons with the Ohio State Buckeyes, and was a unanimous selection to the College Football All-America team in 2019.

But he hasn’t done much 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 season.

Last season, he did a bit better, appearing in 15 games and recording seven passes defended and one pick-six, but his production was still a far cry from what was initially expected of him in 2020, when he He was considered the best cornerback prospect. draft class.

Perhaps a change of scenery will get Okudah closer to the best version of himself.

Jeff Okudah Trades Lions Fans A Reminder Of A Disappointing 2020 Draft