(CBS Detroit) – Detroit Lions Communications

 

The Detroit Lions introduce Jeff Okudah, Cornerback from Ohio State University and their first round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

 

Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia opening statement: Let me just say: It’s great to see everybody’s faces. I know it’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to catch up. Mike (O’Hara), glad to see you got that thing moved down; we were seeing the top of your head there for a little while. So I’m glad you got that Zoom figured out. Certainly great to see everybody – hope everyone is staying safe, staying healthy. It’s critically important at this time that everyone is doing that.

“We couldn’t be more excited about Jeff and having the opportunity to bring him on our team. He’s a young man that we spent a lot of time with, got a great opportunity to know at the Combine and then follow up, talked to his coaches, talked to just about everybody he’s played against – really, even going back to some of his stuff coming out of high school. It’s not often that you meet someone, and you spend (a) 15- to 18-minute interview at the Combine when you’re rolling through players, and that player says something that just sticks so hard to you as a person that explains who he is as a person. It’s something that makes you go back, and you talk to your wife about it and you’re like, ‘Wow, this is an amazing young guy.’ So we’re just really excited that we had the opportunity to add him to our team. Obviously as a player, everything he’s done on the field is phenomenal. His skillset, his ability to go out there and matchup in different roles, play at a high level, knowing that teams are either game-planning to do different things to him to try to create confusion, and his ability to just go through play after play and be competitive, be tough. Like I said, he has a great skillset, he tackles, he plays hard, he works even harder off the field. It’s something that’s so rare and unique – his ability to go in and study and outwork everybody that he plays against. Just his wanting to be great, his wanting to go compete and his wanting to go make the team better and go win. I think that’s everything that we want. Like Bob said, I’ll keep it a little bit short, but Jeff – we are so excited to have you here. I’m going to turn it over to you. Eamonn (Reynolds, Director of Football Communications) you can lead the charge, but (Okudah is) just a phenomenal great young man, and we’re so excited to have you on our team.”

 

 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MARCH 01: Defensive back Jeff Okudah of Ohio State prepares to run the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 29, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

 

 

Lions CB Jeff Okudah opening statement: “First off, I want to thank coach (Patricia) and Bob (Quinn), the Ford family. I talked to (Owner and Chairman of the Board Martha Firestone) Ford this morning. I cannot wait to meet her, she seems like a great person. I’m just ready to get to Detroit and get it rolling.”

 

On how eager he is to get to Detroit and learn more about the city and organization: “I’m beyond eager – just getting there, learning about the city, learning about the organization and just soak it all in.”

 

On an interesting thing about himself outside of football: “Heavy Netflix guy. So I binge-watch a lot of T.V. shows in my free time. Ozark? Yes, I’m on season three right now. I’ll finish it up this weekend probably.”

 

On what he said during his Combine interview that touched Head Coach Matt Patricia so deeply: “I just shared with him something about my upbringing, talked about my relationship with my mom growing up, my father. Something that’s real personal to me.”

 

On if he’s able to share any part of his Combine meeting with Head Coach Matt Patricia: “It was just a real personal moment.”

 

On what a week of his preparation looks like and how he studies NFL players: “So, I’ll get in on Monday and (we’ll) watch the 11-, 10-, 12-personnel. Get back with the coaches the next day and meet with them and apply it to practice. So, really just studying the receivers throughout the week, being really detailed, looking at the route concepts the offense is trying to attack us with that week. Just being really meticulous about it, and I think that it’s really helped our process, has really helped my play.”

 

On where he learned his study habits: “When I first got to Ohio State, I kind of struggled to pick up learning offenses and things like that, so after practice, I would just meet with one of the assistant GA’s and we’d just watch practice and he would kind of talk to me about it from a coach’s standpoint. Kind of through that way, I started watching film in the same way and eventually I was able to start watching it by myself. I just kind of fell in love with the process and how we started seeing patterns and they matched up practice. It’s like you start (seeing) games slower and slower.”

 

On who the assistant graduate assistant at Ohio State that helped him was: “V’Angelo Bentley, currently the G.A. at Penn State.”

 

On what went into his work ethic and character development: “I think just from seeing my mom go through whatever she was going through at the time with chemotherapy. While she was doing chemotherapy, she was still in nursing school. Just seeing that, (it) just instilled a work ethic just knowing that you get out what you put into things. I’m always trying to put my best foot forward and strive to be great.”

 

On how much he thinks the state of Texas’ football culture had an influence on where he is today: “I was born in New Jersey, so I moved to Texas when I was in sixth grade. And I think that just seeing the change of competition and how serious sports is taken in Texas was big because when I got to Ohio State I was already used to competing against the top guys. It was tough. I think just having that background of high level of competition, I think it paid dividends.”

 

On what is means to have a shout out from Lebron James on Twitter: “So, we’re signed to the same agency. So, through that we spoke before. I think that just seeing what he said is kind of a testimony of the hard work that’s been put in. It was a pretty cool shout out.”

 

 

 

 

On the sense of pride that Ohio State continues to produce high draft selections at the cornerback position: “I think it’s just having a standard. When it comes to playing cornerback at Ohio State, the standard is pretty much be a lockdown cornerback. So, anything less than that is kind of seen as a disappointment in the eyes of the guys who played before us. When you hold yourself to that standard, going first round or just getting drafted high, it kind of just comes along with it even if you weren’t striving for that.”

 

On if it is true that the University of Michigan did not reciprocate as much interest in him as a college prospect and why has Ohio State been able to consistently beat the Wolverines: “I don’t know that it is necessarily true. It might be, it was just so long ago. But Ohio State, I think that’s the way we approach things. We focus on the game starting in January, so you have 10 months to just prepare for one game. So, I think when you look at it that way, it’s a big reason in why we’ve been so successful in the past.”

 

On the sense of relief that his draft process is completed: “Definitely, I think the whole experience was interesting. I used the time to reach out to some players and kind of get tips, pointers from guys that have been doing it for a while. The process to me has really been great. I had a chance to sit down with a lot of teams and talk about football and talk with former teammates that I’ve had, ask them how their process is going. So, I think it’s brought me close to a lot of guys.”

 

On adapting to the current virtual age with social distancing throughout his draft process: “It was still cool to me. I think that just everything going on, having an in-person draft wasn’t the most important thing. I think just the fact that I was surrounded by loved ones was really cool to me. The whole moment was surreal. Felt like I was on cloud nine all day yesterday. I’m feeling really good about being a Detroit Lion.”

 

On how he is taking on the challenge of a different offseason while preparing to contribute quickly at a notoriously challenging position: “Just get to work. I mean, I can control what I can control. I’m going to do everything that I can to be as ready as I can be whenever I get to Detroit.”

 

On if he is talking to other cornerbacks about what they have done to make the transition early to the professional game: “Oh, yeah, for sure.”

 

On what excites him about joining an organization that is trying to get it turned around: “Just be part of something special. When I was at Ohio State, my sophomore year we were the 75th overall total defense and then we finished up my junior year as the number one overall defense. I love being part of the change and I think when you put all hands-on deck special things can happen.”

 

On his relationship with former Ohio State teammate, and Las Vegas Raiders draft pick, CB Damon Arnette: “So, we got along really well I think just because we both had a lot of the same goals. He really wanted to bring the secondary back to elite level of play, as did I. He really wanted to be remembered at Ohio State, as did I. So, we just put in a lot of work together in the offseason, a lot of extra hours just to kind of strive towards our goals.”

 

On how he thinks his skillset fits into what the Lions like to do on defense: “I think my skillset fits pretty good into the defense just because having the background and playing in a lot of different coverages, different schemes. So, I just hope I can give the team my all and see where it takes us.”

 

On if he prefers to go by Jeff or Jeffrey: “Jeff, for sure, Jeff.”

 

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