When the Detroit Lions drafted cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, they were hoping to add a franchise piece to the secondary. Unfortunately, injuries and inconsistent play led to the two sides parting ways in the offseason. To the shock of many, the Lions chose to trade Okudah to the Atalanta Falcons for a fifth-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The decision to trade the former top-three pick for a fifth-rounder was met with confusion by many around the NFL. While Jeff Okudah struggled at times in 2023, he still showed that he could be a reliable corner.
On Thursday, Lions general manager Brad Holmes provided insight into the team’s decision to trade the young defensive back.
“I think it was the right time, I think it was good for Jeff. I had a good talk with him after it was done and he totally understood it as well. So, it was great. I really respect what Jeff did. We kind of put him in some adverse moments in training camp last year and just like I told you guys, I really respected how he battled and didn’t bat an eye and won the starting job,” said Holmes during the Lions pre-draft press conference.
Holmes went on to say. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Terry (Fontenot) there in Atlanta. It was a really smooth, efficient process. And it kind of just came up. Again, like I was telling you guys about the (T.J.) Hockenson trade, I wasn’t making a ton of calls. And I wasn’t actively shopping or anything like that. You get the call and sometimes it just lines up and it makes sense for all parties, and it did.”
With the addition of Jeff Okudah, the Falcons have added another strong piece to their secondary. Through the moves that they have made in the offseason, this unit could already be dangerous. Now with Okudah joining the bunch, they could look to be the best part of the defense.
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