Updated: Jun 28
The Atlanta Falcons had already made splashes in the free agent market when they acquired veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell. They also splashed when they signed Jessie Bates III in free agency. Atlanta wants to make it known that they are rebuilding for success and took another step in that direction yesterday morning.
The Falcons traded for the former number-three overall pick Jeff Okudah Tuesday morning. The deal sends a fifth-round pick from this year’s draft to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Okudah. This move takes the Atlanta defense to the next level considering Okudah is entering year four of his career. Let’s discuss where Okudah fits in and why a fresh start in ATL will revive his career.
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Okudah And The Falcons Make Sense
The move for Okudah beefs up the Atlanta defense, which was this trade’s objective. Okudah will likely compete for the “cornerback two” job with Casey Heyward. Giving Okudah a chance to earn a solid roster spot is all he needs to succeed. He might not have the playing experience that other players from his draft class have but he is still worth the investment.
Okudah played in only ten games in his first two seasons which is a red flag for most teams. However, he played in 15 games last season and of course, finished with career-high numbers in nearly every category. He also earned career-best PFF grades against the Cowboys last year with a 75.1 coverage, 84.1 in tackling, 90.1 in run defense, and 86.1 in overall defense.
Overall, Okudah has the chance to be a key piece in the Atlanta defense for the foreseeable future. If he manages to win a starting spot at CB2, he will thrive and become a valuable piece.
Jeff Okudah was drafted number three overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Injuries have plagued him but the time is now for a revival. His fourth season in the NFL will need to be a big improvement from year three. Hopefully getting a full season under his belt will help him make that jump that the Falcons are hoping for.
Atlanta has spent the most money this offseason so far but it seems to be in the right areas. If Okudah hopes to flourish in ATL, he will need to win the CB2 spot for sure but the starting job would solidify he is worth the trade. The Falcons gave away a fifth-round pick for Okudah so the ceiling is rather low but that should motivate him to prove himself on the field.