On a post-Round 1 “Lions Virtual Draft Party” on Thursday, former Lions offensive lineman T.J. Lang praised the Lions for taking Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third overall pick.
“On Day One he can make a huge impact,” Lang said. “He’s a playmaker, ball-hawk and not afraid to tackle. He’s a dog and that’s what I want in my cornerback. I want a dude that’s not afraid to tackle, not afraid to hit, not afraid to get into piles. I think he’s got a great opportunity to make a huge impact for the team.”
According to Lang, there was a big gap between Okudah and the next best cornerback.
“He’s head and shoulders above any other corner prospect, especially with man-to-man coverage," Lang said. "The Lions play more man-to-man than any other team.”
Speculation swirled before the draft that the Lions might be able to trade their pick, move back in the draft and still select Okudah, but they ended up holding onto the third pick.
“I don’t think Miami wanted to give up their fifth pick. I think the trade market weakened today. There were a lot of reports that the Giants wanted to move down, but they weren’t able to do it either,” Lang said.
Okudah also joined the virtual draft party to share his thoughts on becoming a Lion.
“I’m just really excited to get to work. I’m waiting to get alone so I can just think about how crazy it is. I just want to go to work, earn the respect of my teammates and see what we can build in Detroit. I play with a lot of confidence.”
Before the draft, quarterback Matthew Stafford joined the virtual draft party and talked about why he likes to reach out to new Lions draft picks.
“I’ve been in Detroit about the longest of anybody, so I let them know what we expect out of them. They’re coming from all over the country to help us be better, and I just want them to know I’m trying to help them out as much as I can.”
The rest of the NFL offseason calendar is on hold, and Stafford had some advice on how his new teammate can contribute while staying at home.
“You’re not just doing it for you. You’re doing it for all the guys (Lions players) around the country. I’ve been working out and trying to make sure I’m still sharp and ready to go.”
Eric Coughlin is a freelance writer.