Statistical Profile: Okudah is coming off his first year as a starter at Ohio State, but he has played in all 40 games since arriving as a true freshman. Racking up 18 pass breakups and three picks during that time, Okudah quickly established himself as the next great corner in a long line of elites at Ohio State.
Where he wins: Simply put, there aren’t many aspects of cornerback play that could be described as areas where Okudah does not win. He is an elite, rare cornerback prospect with outstanding strength, physicality, athleticism and speed.
Where Okudah really shines is in press coverage, where he has some of the quickest and most patient feet I’ve ever scouted. Receivers hardly ever get him to open up early, as Okudah trusts his eyes and technique to guide him through the release. Because of that he is almost never out of phase early in the rep, using athleticism and physicality to mirror the receiver’s movements throughout the route.
Okudah has elite speed and acceleration, not giving an inch vertically and consistently crowding receivers to the boundary. Good luck throwing anything over his head or beating him down the field. It simply doesn’t happen, in man or in zone.
When he does get targeted down the field, his tape is full of pass breakups and the ability to elevate and play the catch point. Timing, length, body control – it’s all there for Okudah, making it incredibly tough to hit big plays on the junior corner.
He’s stingy underneath too, and although there are a few areas he can improve, Okudah has an exceptional burst to the ball when he pulls the trigger from off coverage. He can close down windows in a hurry, and he never arrives at the catch point passively, always playing around the receiver to rip at the ball.
What puts Okudah over the top is that he flies downhill against the run, works off of blocks and is never hesitant to stick his nose into traffic to make a stop. He plays with outstanding urgency and focus, never blowing an assignment and consistently playing with outside leverage to turn runs back inside when they reach the perimeter.
There are areas Okudah could improve to be even more of a high-impact player, but no glaring weaknesses in any scheme, which should make him a universally desirable prospect and one of the consensus best players in the draft.
Where he may struggle: Okudah could probably stand to trust his elite traits and take a few more chances on underneath routes, especially in off-man or soft press. He has the speed and change-of-direction to recover if someone wants to double move him, and it would prevent some of the slant routes he gives up, although he ends up contesting almost all of those too.
Okudah can play it a bit safe in off coverage, and I think when he learns to process and react a little better to what is in front of him, his game is going to move into the top tier of corners in the league. The flashes are already there, but the consistency isn’t.
Okudah has terrific ball skills when he gets his head around, but he could still do a better job of finding the football or even playing the pocket on passes down the sideline. He’ll miss some tackles too, although not enough to be concerning, and the desire and physicality are absolutely there.
Bucs Fit: Okudah could fit in any system, but the Bucs have bigger needs and there is no way he’ll be on the board when they pick at no. 14.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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