The Detroit Lions made a surprising move on Monday when they traded cornerback Jeff Okudah to the New York Giants for a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft.
Okudah, the third overall pick in the 2020 draft, had a disappointing rookie season marred by injuries and inconsistent play. The Lions decided to cut their losses and move on from the former Ohio State star, who was expected to be a cornerstone of their secondary for years to come.
The trade has implications for the Lions’ draft plans, as they now have a bigger need at cornerback. The Lions hold the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, and many mock drafts have them taking Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who is widely regarded as the best non-quarterback prospect in the class.
However, some analysts think the Lions might consider taking a cornerback with their top pick, or trade down and target one later in the first round.
Here is a roundup of some recent mock drafts and what they have to say about the Lions’ options at cornerback:. . . .
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Patrick Surtain II, Alabama. Kiper has the Lions staying put at No. 2 and taking Surtain, who he calls “the best cover corner in this class.” Kiper writes: “Surtain has NFL bloodlines — his father was a Pro Bowl corner — and he was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide.
He has great size (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) and ball skills, and he can play press-man or zone coverage. He’s a plug-and-play starter who would upgrade Detroit’s secondary.”.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech. Jeremiah also has the Lions taking a cornerback at No. 2, but he prefers Farley over Surtain. Jeremiah writes: “Farley is a big, athletic corner with outstanding speed and ball skills. He opted out of the 2020 season, but he was dominant in 2019. He has some durability concerns, but he has the highest ceiling of any corner in this draft.”
Todd McShay, ESPN: Trade down to No. 8 with Carolina Panthers, Jaycee Horn, South Carolina. McShay projects a trade scenario where the Lions swap picks with the Panthers, who move up to take BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
The Lions then take Horn, who McShay calls “a physical corner with good size (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) and speed.” McShay writes: “Horn is aggressive at the line of scrimmage and has the versatility to play both man and zone coverage.
He also has NFL bloodlines — his father is former Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn.”. . . .
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Trade down to No. 12 with San Francisco 49ers, Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State. Brooks also envisions a trade scenario where the Lions move down and acquire more picks from a quarterback-needy team. The 49ers move up to take North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, while the Lions take Samuel Jr., who Brooks calls “a feisty cover corner with outstanding instincts and ball skills.” Brooks writes: “Samuel Jr. is a bit undersized (5-foot-10, 184 pounds), but he plays bigger than his measurables. He is a fluid athlete who can mirror receivers in man coverage and jump routes in zone coverage. He also has NFL bloodlines — his father is former Pro Bowl corner Asante Samuel.”
Peter Schrager, Fox Sports: Trade down to No. 15 with New England Patriots, Greg Newsome II, Northwestern. Schrager also predicts a trade scenario where the Lions trade down with a team looking for a quarterback.
The Patriots move up to take Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, while the Lions take Newsome II, who Schrager calls “a rising star in this draft class.” Schrager writes: “Newsome II had a breakout season in 2020, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors and leading the conference in pass breakups (10) despite playing only six games.
He has excellent size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds), speed and technique, and he can play both inside and outside.