Jeff Okudah is expected to play a big role in Detroit's defense in 2020 after the Lions took the rookie cornerback out of Ohio State No. 3 overall in the draft.
Like all rookies, it's been a tough introduction to the NFL for Okudah, having to go through his first NFL offseason in a virtual setting because the COVID-19 pandemic closed down NFL training facilities this spring.
While new Lions defensive coordinator Cory Undlin hasn't been able to work with his new cornerback on the field, Okudah has certainly left his mark so far in the virtual environment the Lions have conducted and recently concluded their offseason training program in.
"With this Zoom thing, I've spent a lot of time with Jeff and I think the people in Detroit and Lions fans are going to really, really like him, not only as a player, but as a person," Undlin said in a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday.
"Jeff is driven like few men I've been around in this profession and I know that and I can tell that albeit a Zoom call. The guy is nonstop. To the point where it's like, 'Jeff, can we talk about something, like can we not talk about football for like five minutes? Can we talk about something else? Do you do anything else?' That's how he's wired."
View photos as the Detroit Lions practice facility reopened on a limited basis Wednesday, June 10, 2020 in Allen Park, Mich.
Okudah was on Detroit's radar early in the pre-draft process after GM Bob Quinn, head coach Matt Patricia and the rest of the coaching staff came away from the interview with him extremely impressed with his football knowledge, work ethic and personality.
Okudah joins veterans Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman (nickel) to make up what's expected to be Detroit's starting trio at cornerback. Second-year cornerback Amani Oruwariye will also compete to be in the mix after a nice second half to his rookie season in 2019.
But in Okudah, the Lions think they have the makings of a special player at the position.
"I look forward to obviously getting him out there and we'll see what it looks like when he's on the grass because we haven't been on the field yet," Undlin said. "But after the last three months, after we had the opportunity to draft him, it's been nothing but impressive and I'm super excited for him and his future."
There's no depth chart to speak of for the Lions just yet. They'll start to figure all that out when they return to training camp. But Undlin is certainly impressed with how Okudah has conducted himself up to this point, and the Lions hope Okudah plays a big part in turning the Lions' defense into a much improved unit in 2020.