Jeff Okudah hopes rough rookie season will be “year of growth”

NFL: NOV 15 Washington Football Team at Lions
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Going from Ohio State to the Lions was a shock to cornerback Jeff Okudah‘s system.

The third overall pick of this year’s draft lost four games in three years with the Buckeyes and it took seven games for the Lions to match that total. On top of that, Okudah noted he didn’t “really have to deal with dysfunction” while in Columbus and there was plenty of it in Detroit this season.

Okudah said he didn’t see “alignment within the coaching staff and the players,” which helps explain why head coach Matt Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn were fired in November. Okudah was already on injured reserve at that point as a core muscle injury required surgery that ended his rookie season.

He hadn’t played well before getting hurt, so there wasn’t much to like about what the rookie said he hopes will turn out to be a “year of growth.”

“I think that for me it was really hard to come to the terms that just not playing to the standard of the city of Detroit and what they expect to see out there,” Okudah said, via Kyle Meinke of “I think going forward, definitely have that on my mind and definitely something that is really going to fuel my hunger this offseason. Not necessarily trying to prove everyone wrong, just trying to prove a lot of people right.”

There were high hopes for Okudah when he joined the Lions in April. He and many others in Detroit will be banking on a fresh start being just what the doctor ordered.