Report: Jeff Okudah Inks Rookie Contract with Detroit Lions

Brendan Gulick

A source tells NFL Network's Ian Rapaport that former Ohio State corner back Jeff Okudah has signed his rookie contract with the Detroit Lions. Okudah was a unanimous All-American for the Buckeyes in 2019 and was picked third overall in the 2020 NFL Draft (after former Buckeye and LSU Tiger quarterback Joe Burrow and defensive end/former teammate Chase Young). 

In fact, he was the highest drafted cornerback since the Seattle Seahawks took Shawn Springs third overall in 1997. Rapaport says Okudah's deal is a standard 4-year contract with a fifth year option.

Okudah is a 21-year-old defensive back from Grand Prairie, Texas. Coming out of high school, he was the top-ranked cornerback and the eighth overall prospect in the nation in 2017. Okudah enrolled early at Ohio State and quickly realized how important his new family would become. Okudah lost his mother, Marie, to lymphoma in 2017 just days after arrived in Columbus. He publicly reflected on his mother's impact on his life shortly after he was drafted.

Despite being so highly-rated as a prep player, Okudah didn't play immediately as a true freshman. He mostly saw time on special teams. He finally got a chance to see the field in a meaningful role during Ohio State's Cotton Bowl victory over USC when his teammate Denzel Ward elected to sit out that game.

Okudah built on a solid sophomore campaign with a strong showing against the Washington Huskies in the 2019 Rose Bowl.

As a junior, Okudah teamed up with Damon Arnette to forge one of the best defensive backfields in the country. He helped anchor the nation's No. 1 ranked pass defense, while recording a career-high 34 tackles and defended nine passes. He also picked off three passes. Okudah was named first-team All-Big Ten, a unanimous All-American and was one of three finalists for the Thorpe Award, given to the country's best defensive back.

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