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TWENTYMAN: What Okudah trade means for Lions' secondary

The Detroit Lions are moving on from former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah.

The Lions have made official the trade to send Okudah to the Atlanta Falcons for a fifth-round pick (No. 159 overall) in this year's NFL Draft.

Okudah was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 draft by former Lions general manager Bob Quinn. Okudah played in just 10 games his first two seasons combined due to core muscle and Achilles Tendon injuries.

He earned a starting spot out of training camp last season and started 15 games, recording 73 tackles, seven passes defended, one forced fumble and one interception he returned for a touchdown Week 10 in Chicago. But he was also benched late in the season because of inconsistent play, something that plagued Okudah throughout his tenure in Detroit when healthy. Now Okudah will get a fresh start in Atlanta and the Lions will save $5.2 million on this year's salary cap.

View photos from Wednesday's media availability with the newest Detroit Lions coaches.

"I got traded from Detroit in 2007 to Denver. Sometimes this happens in the game," new Lions cornerbacks coach Dre Bly said this week. "I'm sure he's going to embrace that situation and the opportunity to go to Atlanta. He was a very successful guy in college and so I'm sure he's looking forward to the opportunity. Wish him well."

The Lions added veteran talent to the secondary in free agency this offseason, signing Cam Sutton to a three-year deal and C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Emmanuel Moseley to one-year deals. All three should be up for starting spots in Detroit's secondary. The team also re-signed versatile cornerback Will Harris and return Jerry Jacobs, who was arguably their most consistent cornerback a season ago after he returned midseason from a torn ACL suffered at the end of the 2021 season.

This year's draft class is also talented and deep at the cornerback position. The Lions have five picks in the top 81, so they could continue to add to the secondary via the draft.

It will certainly be a new-look secondary in Detroit in 2023 with last year's starters Okudah, Amani Oruwariye and DeShon Elliott all elsewhere.

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