Cornerback Jeff Okudah entered the NFL as the third overall pick of the 2020 draft, but he was limited to 10 games in his first two seasons with the Lions and that limited expectations for him entering the 2022 season.
Okudah has stayed healthy this year, however, and he’s shown signs of being back to the form that made him such a high pick coming out of Ohio State. The brightest one came against the Bears on Sunday when he picked off college teammate Justin Fields and ran for a 20-yard touchdown that tied the game in the fourth quarter.
The Lions would go on to win 31-30 and Okudah said after the game that he “took a lot of pride in creating that play for our defense.” He also said that he’s savoring the chance to make plays like that after two frustrating seasons.
“I mean, honestly, I’m just enjoying this year,” Okudah said, via Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. “I’ve been through a lot of things my first two years, had plenty of lows. So I don’t take any of these moments for granted. Winning these games, being able to make plays, I don’t take any of that for granted. I’ve seen the other side of it. So I’m enjoying every single moment because you never know when the moment will be over.”
In addition to marking his own turnaround, Okudah’s big play ended a long drought for the Lions. They had not scored a defensive touchdown since Devon Kennard returned a fumble for a score in Week Eight of the 2019 season.