Okudah will likely begin his NFL career as the starting cornerback for the Lions, replacing Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay, who was traded away to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the offseason.
Okudah made his mark on the college game during his sophomore and junior seasons at Ohio State. As a sophomore, he recorded 32 total tackles and eight passes defended.
He started all 14 games for the Buckeyes last season and came away with a first-team All-American honoree. As a junior, Okudah led Ohio State with three interceptions and nine passes defended. He was also a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.
At the scouting combine, Okudah was measured as having 32 5/8-inch arms and 9 1/8-inch hands. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, recorded 11 reps on the bench press, and 41 inches at the vertical jump.
The Lions went 3-12-1 last season to earn the third overall pick, making Okudah an enticing selection. He will immediately step in and contribute for a Lions’ secondary, which was ranked among the worst in the league.
The Lions’ selection of Okudah is the first time they’ve drafted a cornerback in the first round since Terry Fair in 1998.