The 2023 season will be the fourth NFL season in the career of cornerback Jeff Okudah. But in some ways, it’s only his second.
At least that’s the feeling Okudah expressed while speaking to the media for the first time after the Detroit Lions traded him to the Atlanta Falcons this offseason.
Okudah played just 10 games combined in his first two seasons, including only one during the 2021 season.
As a rookie in 2020, Okudah missed the season opener because of a hamstring injury. He then finished the season on injured reserve because of a core muscle injury.
In 2021, Okudah played just one contest before rupturing an Achilles tendon, which ruled him out the rest of the season.
The 24-year-old finally played the majority of a season last year when he started 15 games. He recorded 73 combined tackles, including 2 for loss, 7 pass defenses and an interception.
The Falcons are hoping that a fully healthy Okudah will be able to fulfill his potential, which made him the third overall pick in the 2020 draft.
He’s expressed his excitement about the opportunity that he will receive in Atlanta.
“I approach situations by putting my best foot forward,” Okudah told the media. “Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you intend to. So you take those lessons and you move on. And then take those lessons and apply them to a new situation, which is here. I’m excited for this new chapter.”
It’s still only April, but that new opportunity has already begun. Okudah described the past two weeks working out with the Falcons as “enlightening.”
The Falcons acquired the No. 3 overall pick from the 2020 NFL draft in exchange for a fifth-round selection this year on April 11.