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Jeff Okudah Is Not Ready to Start for Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah should start the 2020 season behind Amani Oruwariye

Despite Jeff Okudah being a cornerback with all the necessary skills to be successful, he simply is not ready to start in the NFL. 

Not having many on-field reps this offseason has presented a challenge as he enters his rookie campaign in Detroit.

The sheer mental and physical pace of the cornerback position has proven to be tougher to adjust to than for rookies at other positions.

As the league trends more toward a passing league, the accuracy of quarterbacks and the route-running of receivers have become nearly impossible to stifle.

"He’s still got a lot to learn," head coach Matt Patricia said Saturday during a video conference. "We’re still working on a couple plays where I think he’s on the ground too much. And he’s got to stay up and show a little bit more body control, and really, just the game has got to slow down a little bit. He and I talked about that. And (we're) just trying to get him to be in those positions, which he’s really improved and done a great job of understanding that." 

Detroit Lions Cornerback Jeff Okudah

Detroit Lions Cornerback Jeff Okudah

According to The Athletic, "If the Lions were facing Chicago this weekend, there’d be a decent chance that Amani Oruwariye, not Jeff Okudah, would be starting opposite Desmond Trufant at cornerback. During Saturday’s scrimmage, running back Jonathan Williams bounced a run wide and turned past Okudah for a big gain -- Okudah flew down to the edge looking to make a play and lost contain."

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In the past 48 hours, Okudah has appeared overwhelmed by the moment. 

In Friday's indoor practice, wide receiver Chris Lacy used a double move to fly past the rookie defensive back. 

Matthew Stafford did not throw to that side of the field, but had they connected, it would have resulted in a 60-yard touchdown grab. 

Plenty of missed opportunities have dampened the ex-Buckeyes' first training camp with the Lions.

Okudah has demonstrated a willingness to learn, but the position on Detroit's defense requires quick reactions and an ability to slow down to make the proper decisions. 

Detroit's season opener is two weeks away. 

Given what has transpired, Okudah would benefit from taking a lesser role -- at least early on in his rookie season.