The Julius Caesar of college DBs, Jeff Okudah came, he saw and he conquered. Arriving in Columbus as a highly anticipated five-star recruit from Grand Prairie, Texas, Okudah proved immediately worthy of his immense hype, joining a long lineage of shutdown Ohio State corners. Like fellow Buckeyes Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore before him, Okudah was a standout in coverage, using his length and athleticism to win downfield while exhibiting a knack for bating quarterbacks into risky throws. Fundamentally sound with Zen-like patience, Okudah unloaded his whole bag of tricks in 2019, throwing the kitchen sink at his opponents with a career-high three interceptions while ascending to All-American status. With nothing more to prove at the amateur level, leaving school was an easy choice for the prodigious 21-year-old, who appears poised for NFL stardom.
School: Ohio State
2019 Stats: 35 tackles (29 solo), three interceptions, two forced fumbles
Accolades: Unanimous All-American (2019), First-team All-Big Ten (2019), Jim Thorpe Award finalist (2019), high school All-American and five-star recruit
Strengths: Crafty and infuriatingly athletic with exceptional closing speed, Okudah is one of the most disciplined defensive back prospects we’ve seen in a long time. He’s aggressive without gambling, using fluid, effortless strides to mirror his opponents. Rangy and sturdy enough to fend for himself against bigger wideouts, Okudah has mastered the subtleties of his position, reading eyes while relying on expert footwork and superior anticipation to make plays. Ohio State’s varied coverage schemes should prepare Okudah for whatever the pros throw at him, both literally and figuratively.
Weaknesses: Okudah can be a reluctant tackler at times and, as his paltry interception totals would indicate (three career picks with two coming in the same game), his ball skills need fine-tuning. Others have critiqued him for being “handsy” in his coverage, though Okudah worked hard to eliminate that flaw last season, finishing 2019 without a single flag for holding or pass interference.
Player Comparison: Jalen Ramsey
A polished mantel piece with laser vision and maddening technical proficiency, Okudah offers many of the same lockdown capabilities seen in Rams pot-stirrer Jalen Ramsey, an attack hound who guards his turf like the fate of the world depends on it.
What Experts Are Saying
“He could be one of the top corners in the NFL and capable of limiting elite No. 1 receivers.” – Charlie Campbell, Walter Football
“His athleticism ripples off the screen, with feet like the needle of a sowing machine, exceptionally fast, always under control.” – Thor Nystrom, Rotoworld
“Dream prospect with blue-chip physical traits, mental makeup and personal character.” – Lance Zierlein, NFL.com