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Okudah plans to live up to high pick with Lions

First cornerback selected in the top 3 since 1997
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Posted at 3:26 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 21:59:05-04

(FOX 17) — Even though almost everyone that studies the NFL draft had the Lions selecting Jeff Okudah with the third pick in Thursday's first round, the cornerback from Ohio State was taking nothing for granted prior to hearing his name called.

"I wasn't really sure of anything coming into tonight," Okudah said Thursday after the draft. "My mindset going into it was with an open mind. I know a lot of things happen on draft night that are out of your control. I was just kind of ready on whatever would happen I already planned to give whatever franchise I was playing for everything I had."

Lions select Jeff Okudah with first pick

Players at his position don't usually get selected that high. Okudah becomes the first cornerback since fellow Buckeye Shawn Springs to be picked in the top three.

"It is a crazy feeling being drafted that high," Okudah added. "Obviously the Detroit Lions think a lot about me and it is up me to return that and give them all that I have and go to work every single day with teammates and be the best player that I can be."

There is a large emphasis in the NFL on protecting and rushing the passer.

Matt Patricia and the Lions scheme a little differently which helped make this a good fit.

"You look at what he (Patricia) does in terms of coverage and he relies a lot on that secondary to kind of clean up the mess of the defensive line," Logan Lamorandier from Sports Illustrated's All Lions said. "He doesn't rush a lot of players, most in the league for rushing only three players, doesn't send a lot of blitzes and relies heavily on coverage so you need the top coverage guys and I think Okudah is definitely that type of player."

That leads into Friday's second round. The Lions biggest need is pass rush so defensive end is a spot they could address if they stay at pick 35 (3rd in the second round).

Other needs include running back, wide receiver and guard and there is plenty of talent still available at all of those positions.