USATSI

It looks like the Detroit Lions are going to have to wait to enjoy their new weapon. Jeff Okudah, the third-overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has been nursing a hamstring injury as of late. It forced the team to list him as questionable on the final injury report for their Week 1 battle with the rival Chicago Bears, but it appears optimism surrounding him potentially taking the field has rapidly receded over the weekend. The 21-year-old cornerback is reportedly not expected to make his debut on Sept. 13 due to the injury, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, leaving a sizable void in the Lions secondary. 

Okudah was selected as the successor to three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, whom the team traded to the Philadelphia Eagles ahead of the draft in exchange for 2020 third- and fifth-round pick. With neither Slay nor Okudah on the roster to open the season, Mitch Trubisky and the Bears will try to take advantage of a secondary that lacks a No. 1 shutdown corner — assuming they can. 

For while Trubisky will get the initial nod as starter for the Bears, he’s had his struggles and is coming off of a disappointing 2019 season that saw him throw 10 interceptions to only 17 touchdowns. If he isn’t much improved over last season, the Lions may find themselves handling him and the Chicago offense quite handily without Okudah in the mix, as they work to figure out if he’ll be available for their Week 2 matchup against a much more potent Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. 

On no planet is Trubisky equal to Rodgers, so giving Okudah one more week to heal up might be the smart move here.

A former Unanimous All-American and First-Team All-Big Ten talent, Okudah was an absolute star for the Ohio State Buckeyes. He is not only arguably the most polished defensive back in his draft class, but also the least penalized — two things that drove the Lions to pull the trigger on selecting him with a top-5 pick. And because of his value, they’re not so apt to force the issue on his health so early in the season, and against a Bears team who hasn’t been known to rack up points offensively.

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