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MOCK DRAFT WATCH: Trade or no trade, Okudah still the front runner for Lions

The calendar has flipped to April, and that means the NFL Draft is just around the corner.

The draft kicks off in roughly three weeks, which means mock drafts are kicking into high gear.

Here's a look at some of the newest predictions for what the Lions might do with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft later this month (April 23-25).

Spoiler alert, it's all defense.

Lance Zierlein, Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (via trade w/ Chargers)

Why: With the trade of Darius Slay to the Eagles, the Lions will be ready to turn in the card for Okudah. He's a talented, twitchy CB1 who has room to get even better.

Charley Casserly, Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: In the wake of the Darius Slay trade, the Lions pounce on the best cornerback in this class, slotting him across from free-agent signee Desmond Trufant.

View photos of NFL prospect Jeff Okudah.

Chad Reuter, Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Why: I wonder how many trade calls the Lions have already taken for this pick? Young's talent is just too much to pass by unless there's a trade offer that Detroit absolutely cannot ignore.

Cynthia Frelund, Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: Trading away Darius Slay leaves Detroit with a massive question mark at corner, and Okudah is my model's top-rated prospect at the position.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (via trade w/ Giants)

Why: He's super disruptive, thanks to his strength, quick hands and explosiveness off the line. The Lions' interior immediately improves.

Todd McShay, Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: A glaring need became blinding when the Lions traded Darius Slay to the Eagles (though Detroit did sign Desmond Trufant). Okudah would bring ball skills, size and versatility to a defense that was exploited last season to the tune of 284.4 passing yards allowed per game. His athleticism is elite, and I'd expect him to excel in man coverage at the next level.

Mel Kiper Jr., Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: The Lions' best-case scenario with this pick? Field offers for teams trying to trade up to draft Tua Tagovailoa -- the Dolphins (Nos. 5, 18 and 26 picks) and Chargers (No. 6 pick) make the most sense -- and still land Okudah.

Ryan Wilson, Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson (via trade w/ Dolphins)

Why: Isaiah Simmons told us at the combine that his versatility is what makes him so special and it's hard to argue. He patterns his game after Tyrann Mathieu and Von Miller though he also reminds us of Derwin James. Whatever player comp you use, the Lions' defense is vastly improved with him on it, and they get an extra pick in the process.

Chris Trapasso, Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Why: Matt Patricia considers Jeff Okudah here, but decides on Young to pair with Trey Flowers up front.

Pete Prisco, Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn

Why: They could go for corner Jeff Okudah here in this spot, but I think they need a power player up front to go with Danny Shelton. Brown will be a star.

Will Brinson, Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

Why: Do-it-all linebacker/safety hybrid makes a lot of sense for a Bill Belichick protege like Matt Patricia to draft. That would be one thing about the Lions' offseason that makes sense, so that's good.

R.J. White, Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (via trade w/ Jaguars)

Why: The Lions trade back with the Jaguars, pick up No. 20 and a mid-round pick plus this one, and get the top defensive tackle in this class, a player who could be a fit for them at No. 3 anyway. That's a big win for the Detroit front office.

Josh Edwards, Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: After trading away Darius Slay, cornerback is a need for Detroit despite adding Desmond Trufant. Isaiah Simmons and Derrick Brown could be in play here as well, but Okudah seems like the safest bet.

Tom Fornelli, Jeff Okudah (via trade w/ Chargers)

Why: If Matt Patricia is truly a student of Bill Belichick, he'll know that Belichick prefers to build his defense from the back end these days. So he gets the best corner in the draft and picks extra assets while doing so. Truly Belichickian.

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: There's an obvious debate between Okudah and his teammate, Chase Young, but the Lions' man-coverage attack desperately needs more options on the back end, and Okudah's production and measurables make him the top cornerback on the PFF draft board.

Michael Renner, Pro Football Focus: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (via trade w/ Dolphins)

Why: Detroit still gets its guy after trading down. The Lions still have a massive hole opposite newly acquired Desmond Trufant left by Darius Slay that Okudah can fill. On 31 targets in man coverage last year, Okudah allowed only 15 catches for 178 yards and one score.

Nate Davis, USA Today: Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn (via trade w/ Chargers)

Why: Despite descending three spots, Detroit still gets a premium player. And though GM Bob Quinn shored up his linebacker corps (Jamie Collins, Reggie Ragland) in free agency and offset the trade of Darius Slay by signing Desmond Trufant, the Lions remain perilously thin up front – even with the arrival of massive Danny Shelton. Brown can play all three downs, able to tie up blocks, rush the passer and destroy running lanes.

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA Today: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: Three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay got his wish to be sent out of Detroit, as the Lions moved him early on Thursday in a trade to the Philadelphia Eagles. With his departure, the Lions' need for a cornerback to join free agent signing Desmond Trufant is more pressing than ever. Good thing Okudah, one of the best players at his position in several years, is waiting in the draft.

Eric Edholm, Yahoo Sports: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State

Why: This would be a windfall for the Lions, who still lack a true difference-maker on the front four other than Trey Flowers. Young could come in and be a pro-ready pass rusher the way Nick Bosa was last year for the 49ers. If the first two picks go Burrow and Young, then Young's teammate, CB Jeffrey Okudah, would be a fine choice. He'd fill a huge need, too.

Corey Parson, Sports Illustrated: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: The Lions have been retooling their defense this offseason. This could be a spot for them to take a quarterback, but after the trade of Darius Slay, the Lions need to select Jeff Okudah. Okudah is in a tier by himself when it comes to cornerbacks in this draft class. He is great in press and mirror coverage.

Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: We've expected for a while now that the Lions would trade Darius Slay, and he finally got his wish with a deal to the Eagles. Okudah would have represented a significant upgrade for the Lions whether they kept Slay or not, but now he fills a more obvious need. A complete corner, Okudah has an ideal blend of size, length, athleticism and competitiveness.

Jason McIntyre, Fox Sports: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: The Lions needed help defensively in the offseason, and Matt Patricia got two plug-and-play guys on the first day of free agency: DT Nick Williams and LB Jamie Collins. As much as I liked the idea of Detroit drafting do-it-all LB Isaiah Simmons, Collins plays a similar position and knows Patricia's system.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: The Lions moved Darius Slay in a trade with the Eagles and signed Desmond Trufant to replace him, but they need to address the other outside corner spot. Okudah, an elite ball hawk at 6-1, 205 pounds, has the build to handle receivers of all sizes. He is fluid and quick enough with great recovery skills in coverage to develop into a shutdown type with his strengths showing up in press man.

Manish Mehta, NY Daily News: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (via trade w/ Dolphins)

Why: Matt Patricia needs to replace cornerback Darius Slay in the worst way after shipping the Pro Bowler off to Philly. Patricia has little chance to get off the hot seat if the league's worst ranked pass defense from a year ago doesn't significantly improve. Enter Okudah, who would instantly become the Lions' No. 1 corner and allow newly acquired Desmond Trufant to slide over to a Robin role.

Dan Kadar, SB Nation: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State

Why: The Lions, as expected, traded Darius Slay. That makes what they should do with the third pick even more obvious.

Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football: Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State (via trade w/ Chargers)

Why: As of this very moment, the Lions need a talented cornerback to play across from Darius Slay. I wrote this prior to free agency, and now the Lions need a talented cornerback to play across from Desmond Trufant, as Trufant was signed prior to Slay being traded to the Eagles. Jeff Okudah is a big, athletic, speedy cornerback with immense upside.

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