Plenty of observations are floating around about the Detroit Lions on Thursday. It was Day 3 of OTAs. And it was a lot to take in. There was Dan Campbell talking about feeling pantsless if he lost Aaron Glenn. And on the field, Aidan Hutchinson showed some flashes of why the Lions drafted him. However, the real thing (or person) to observe had limited field participation. And that’s Jeff Okudah.
Okudah is still recovering from his Achilles injury he suffered last season. The freak injury during Week 1 cut his potentially promising sophomore season short right out the gate. Despite that, he appeared to be healthy on Thursday afternoon. At the start of practice, he participated in some reps with the first-team defense. After that, he participated in his own workouts, running up and down the sideline.
And that was by design. Lions head coach Dan Campbell informed reporters of it before practice.
In some of his drills, Okudah showed flashes of speed and agility. While he isn’t “game ready”, he appeared to be in amazing shape. Despite that, there’s another story regarding his participation on Thursday. Because he was just as active of a participant on the sidelines. Heck, he appeared to be a quasi-coach.
He was extremely engaged. Throughout the second part of the practice, he was vocal. Holding several sheets in his hand, Okudah paced up and down the sidelines during team drills. At times, he would pull Mark Gilbert or Ifeatu Melifonwu to the side. Because of how animated he appeared, one could surmise he was pointing out to them what he was seeing on the field.
When he wasn’t doing that, he was slapping fives and laughing with secondary coach Aubrey Pleasant.
It was a great sight to see from the third-year cornerback. With Okudah being a former third overall pick, there’s lofty expectations resting on his shoulders. He faced an injury-riddled first two seasons in the NFL. He’ll head into this season only having played in 10 of the 33 games.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.