Three days ago, Seattle Seahawks receiver, DK Metcalf was asked as question about Jeff Okudah in a press conference. The reporter asked him what he’s saw from Okudah’s tape. Metcalf responded dismissively, as though Okudah was not the lockdown corner the reporter believed him to be.
“There’s a safety overtop of him, so he’s not really locking people down, but he’s a good corner,” said Metcalf during the Seahawks Wednesday press conference.
While Metcalf responded smugly, there is truth to what he said. Okudah is a not a true one-on-one “lockdown” corner. He is a conservative type of corner. He has trust in the scheme and his teammates to be in the right spots. He’s not going to stick hip-to-hip on the receiver the whole route. He generally will lay off at times because of the safety help.
Case for Okudah
When breaking down Okudah’s tape, (when he has a safety over the top) one will see a physical corner who checks his man at the line, sticks with him for about 10 yards, checks off briefly, then recovers. What’s interesting is the moment Okudah slightly checks off. In this extremely brief period of time, Okudah has to make a critical decision. Is the safety overtop in position to cover the receiver in the deeper route, or should Okudah, himself stick with the receiver for the remainder of the route? So far he’s been very good at making those decisions.
But there are examples of Okudah, without safety help, holding his own on man-to-man coverage in all of the first three games. Today’s NFL is offensively prioritized, any good throw, route and catch will beat a corner, so there as many examples of Okudah getting beat as well.
On the flip side, Metcalf has yet to break out this year. Through three games Metcalf has only tallied 135 yards, 16 receptions off 25 targets and one touchdown.
Case for Metcalf
In Metcalf’s defense his quarterback Geno Smith is not Russell Wilson. Widely considered as one of the biggest, fastest, strongest and most physical receivers in the league, where’s the production? Metcalf slightly took a shot at Okudah, when he, himself, is struggling.
The Lions drafted Okudah third overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. He had a below average first year playing in nine games before a groin injury ended his season, then in 2021 he ruptured his Achilles in the first game, effectively ending his season all together.
Many considered Okudah to be a waste of the number three pick and a bust heading into the season. Okudah (in the young season) put those claims to rest. In game one Okudah limited Eagles budding star Devonta Smith to zero receptions on four targets. Game two he somewhat held the $68 million-dollar-man, Terry McLaurin, to four catches, 75-yards and no touchdowns. But most impressively he held Justin Jefferson to just three receptions, for 14 yards.
Detroit is set to face Seattle at Ford Field on Sunday. The matchup between these two will be must-see NFL action.
Photo Credit: Junfu Han, USA TODAY NETWORK (Okudah) Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports (Metcalf)