Detroit Lions draft DT Jashon Cornell from Ohio State in 7th round

Jashon Cornell became the third Ohio State Buckeye drafted by the Lions in this 2020 draft.

The Lions selected the defensive tackle in the seventh round with the 235th overall pick. 

“I’ve been talking to the Lions for a while. I was really excited to get that phone call,’’ Cornell said in a conference call on Saturday.

Cornell was the top-ranked recruit in Minnesota after high school and chose Ohio State from more than 30 scholarship offers.

Back then he was best buddies with Lions offensive lineman Frank Ragnow. They would travel to high school camps all over the country together.

At Ohio State, he broke through as a senior starter earning all Big Ten honors. He lined up both inside and outside, but seemed to find a comfort level inside as a senior. 

The other Buckeyes drafted by the Lions this weekend include CB Jeff Okudah (first round) and G Jonah Jackson (third round). 

“Jeff Okudah is a franchise player. He’s going to be – the things that Jeff can do as a defensive back – being able to come in as a freshman and being able to watch Jeff grow, he was able to showcase his ability as one of the best defensive backs in the country,’’ Cornell said. “He came to practice every day, he showed out. Jeff Okudah is going to be a great player for the Lions. Jonah, me and Jonah go at it for 12 weeks out of the year for every year since Jonah (came in) you know, we always had our battles in practice. It’s going to be good to go back up there in Detroit, and be able to compete with Jonah each day at practice and stuff.”

 He thinks having college teammates might help in his transition to the NFL.

“One thing we do at Ohio State is treat everything as if it’s an NFL team. That’s one thing that makes it different from most teams and most players that we’ve been through all the rough patches and we know about the grind and being able to compete at a high level – that’s one thing we did every Saturday,’’ Cornell said. “I think that’s one thing we can transition to Detroit, us Buckeyes can come in bring that competitive factor, that championship mentality that we have at Ohio State. I think that’s one thing we can bring to Detroit as Buckeyes.”

Detroit Lions 2020 draft picks 

First round — CB Jeff Okudah (3rd overall), Ohio State

Second round — RB D’Andre Swift (35th overall) Georgia

Third round — LB Julian Okwara (67th overall) Notre Dame

Third round — G Jonah Jackson (85th overall) Ohio State

Fourth round — G Logan Stenberg (121st overall) Kentucky

Fifth round — WR Quintez Cephus (166th overall) Wisconsin

Fifth round — RB Jason Huntley (172nd overall) New Mexico State

Sixth round — DT John Penisini (197th overall) Utah

Seventh round — DT Jashon Cornell (235th overall) Ohio State

Detroit Lions draft Wisconsin WR Quintez Cephus in fifth round

Oddly enough Lions first-round pick cornerback Jeff Okudah has said the best wide receiver he went up against last season was Wisconsin’s Quintez Cephus.

Both are now members of the Detroit Lions. 

Wide receiver was a position of need for the Lions and they addressed it by drafting Cephus in the fifth round on Saturday (166th overall).

“Jeff is an unbelievable talent, he was the best guy I lined up against all year,’’ Cephus said in a conference call on Saturday.  “It’s amazing getting  to see all the great athletes that the Lions tapped this year that they drafted and the guys they have on their roster. 

“Jeff Okudah, I know he’ll get me better. I can’t wait to work with him and have fun, knowing he has that same respect for me that I have for him it’s going to be a great thing,’’ Cephus said.

The 6-1, 202-pound wide receiver ran a 4.73 40 at the NFL Combine.

As a senior he had 59 receptions for 901 yards (15.3 yards per catch) and seven touchdowns. 

“I think I’m a receiver that makes plays, I’m a complete receiver I’m willing to block, to make catches, I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to help my team be successful, whatever that is I’ll do what I have to do,’’ Cephus said.

He remembers watching quarterback Matthew Stafford when he played at Georgia.

“I’m excited to get to work with him, learn from him, he has a lot of great experience with a lot of great guys,’’ Cephus said. “… I’m excited to get there and go to work with thim.’’

Cephus’ career at Wisconsin was temporarily derailed before the 2018 season when he was accused of sexual assault. He was acquitted of those charges in August 2019,

Cephus was accused of sexual assault prior to the 2018 season. He was acquitted of the charges in August 2019, but missed the 2018 season. 

He didn’t want to talk about the issue in the conference call, saying he’s looking forward to playing with the Lions.

 

Detroit Lions draft picks (so far)

First round — CB Jeff Okudah (3rd overall), Ohio State

Second round — RB D’Andre Swift (35th overall) Georgia

Third round — LB Julian Okwara (67th overall) Notre Dame

Third round — G Jonah Jackson (85th overall) Ohio State

Fourth round — G Logan Stenberg (121st overall) Kentucky

Fifth round — WR Quintez Cephus (166th overall) Wisconsin

Detroit Lions trade up to draft guard Jonah Jackson in third round

The Lions traded up in the third round to draft guard Jonah Jackson out of Ohio State with the 75th overall pick.

Jackson is the second Ohio State Buckeye drafted by the Lions in their first four picks. Cornerback Jeff Okudah was selected in the first round. 

“He’s a brother, he’s a fellow Buckeye. We had a good rapport the short time I was there, a great dude and a great competitor that I’m ready to go to war with,’’ Jackson said about Okudah on a conference call on Friday night.

Detroit traded picks 85, 149 and 182 to the Indianapolis Colts for picks 75 and 197 to move up to grab Jackson, who is 6-foot-3 and 306 pounds. The Lions coached Jackson during the Senior Bowl where they got to know each other. Still he didn’t know if they would draft him. 

He played his first four years at Rutgers and then for his final year of eligibility he went to Ohio State to compete for one of the four open starting jobs on the offensive line. He earned the left guard role, started 14 games and was named third-team Associated Press All-American and earned first-team All Big Ten honors. 

“I went to Ohio State just looking for opportunity, just to be able to showcase my ability and pounce on another platform,” Jackson said. “I felt like it definitely helped me – wherever I was I felt like coaches would be able to find me. But being able to go to Ohio State and hang the banner up in that indoor facility for a Big Ten Championship and being able to get the ring and the gold pants – it was awesome.”

Jackson could fill a need on the Lions’ offensive line with the departure of Graham Glasgow. Last season Glasgow rotated at right guard with Kenny Wiggins and Joe Dahl. 

Jackson was not at Ohio State when Lions left tackle Taylor Decker played there. 

In the second round on Friday night, the Lions drafted running back D’Andre Swift (Georgia). With their first pick in the third round (67th overall) they selected edge rusher Julian Okwara whose brother, Romeo, is a defensive end for the Lions.

 

Detroit Lions draft CB Jeff Okudah who says his technique is his best asset

Cornerback was one-year starter at Ohio State

Jeff Okudah, the Lions first-round draft pick, says his best asset is his technique.

“I try to sharpen my sword every chance that I can I get,’’ Okudah said on a media conference call late Thursday night.

The 6-foot-1 cornerback, a one-year starter at Ohio State, was a natural fit for the Lions who had traded away Darius Slay to the Eagles.

Okudah, who is from Texas, was the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft on Thursday night following Joe Burrow who went to Cincinnati and Chase Young who was drafted by the Washington Redskins. 

“It was a feeling I can’t explain. All the hard work, finally I’m getting a chance to get my name called. It was really something I’m going to remember forever,’’ Okudah said.

He became the first cornerback that the Lions have drafted in the first round since 1998 when they selected Terry Fair.

“He’s very aggressive at the line of scrimmage. He’ll play with his hands. He’ll stay square. He’s patient. There’s not a lot of panic down field on some of the shots, really good in transition, has good makeup speed,” coach Matt Patricia said on a Zoom call with WJBK-Fox 2. “Just really overall, hard-working, tough kid, loves to tackle and really just loves the game. He loves to work at the game. Loves to just study every single week. He was outstanding with his recall on his opponents and things like that. Just knew that we had a kid that we thought would be a really good player for us.”

Okudah knew the Lions had interest but didn’t know for certain where he would land.

“I wasn’t really sure of anything coming into tonight because I went into the draft with an open mind, I know a lot of things happen on draft night that are out of your control,’’ Okudah said.

He thinks he can be a good fit in the Lions’ defense, which was ranked 31st in 2019, thanks to his background at Ohio State.

“At Ohio State we played a bunch of coverages. We played Cover 1, Cover 3 and some Cover 4,’’ Okudah said. “I think my background of playing a bunch of defenses. I’m pretty confident I can go in there and be able to learn the defense.’’ 

It’s going to be all different this spring with the possibility of no team workouts due to the coronavirus shutdowns. Even training camp and the season are question marks.

He wants to learn from veteran corner Desmond Trufant who was signed by Detroit as a free agent.

“I want to be around him a lot, I want to soak up everything he knows, things he wishes he could have done differently, I want to use his trial and testimonies to maybe avoid going through some of the same things,’’ Okudah said.

He was known at Ohio State as being studious and prepared. 

On SiriusXMNFL when asked if he was ready to be a lock-down corner for the Lions, Okudah said: “It’s definitely a big challenge. I’m just ready to go into that locker room, begin to earn my teammates’ respect and that’ll be the first step. We’ll go from there after that.’’

He can make an immediate impact, but the Lions will have a chance to work him in slowly since they signed Trufant.

Remember, Darius Slay only started four of the 13 games he played as a rookie. He wasn’t Big Play Slay right out of the gate. Obviously it didn’t mean the Lions had given up on him, but rather they gave him time to soak it all in. 

Cornerback is one of the toughest positions to learn in the NFL, but there’s no reason to think that Okudah is not up to the task. 

“It’s a crazy feeling being drafted that high. The Detroit Lions think a lot about me, I think it’s up to me to return that and give them all I have, go to work every single day with my teammates and be the best player I can be,’’ Okudah said.

The Lions will have three picks on Friday night in the second and third rounds — 35th overall (second), 67th overall (third) and 85th overall (from the Eagles.) Friday night’s festivities start at 7 p.m. The fourth through seventh rounds begin at noon on Saturday.

Detroit Lions draft CB Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State at third overall

No trades, no big surprise.

With the third overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night, the Detroit Lions selected cornerback Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State.

He becomes the first cornerback that the Lions have drafted in the first round since 1998 when they selected Terry Fair.

Okudah has all the measurables (6-1, 205 pounds) and intangibles too.
He can make an immediate impact but the Lions will have a chance to work him in slowly since they signed free agent Desmond Trufant.

Remember, Darius Slay only started four of the 13 games he played as a rookie. Obviously it didn’t mean the Lions had given up on him, but rather they gave him time to soak it all in. 

Cornerback one of the toughest positions to learn in the NFL, but no reason to think that Okudah is not up to the task. 

The Lions will have three picks on Friday night in the second and third rounds — 35th overall (second), 67th overall (third) and 85th overall (from the Eagles.) Friday night’s festivities start at 7 p.m. The final rounds on Saturday begin at noon.

Five reasons the Detroit Lions will draft cornerback Jeff Okudah at third overall

Lions GM Bob Quinn has pulled a few surprises in his first four drafts with the Detroit Lions.

He opted for tight end T.J. Hockenson a year ago who was not a popular mock draft pick for the eighth overall pick. In 2018 offensive tackle Frank Ragnow was his top pick at 20th overall. In 2017, he drafted Jarrad Davis at 21st overall and in his first-ever draft in Detroit Taylor Decker got the nod with the 16th pick.

So what does Quinn have planned for this draft which starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday?

Good question. He has never drafted this high — the Lions own the No. 3 overall pick, along with eight other picks.

Cornerback Jeff Okudah seems to be the popular pick for the Lions in the first round. That doesn’t mean Quinn will necessarily draft him, but he certainly looks like the top contender in that spot.

Here are five reasons the Lions will draft Okudah:

1. The cornerback has the ideal size — he’s 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds — and the Ohio State credentials. He is set to become the 14th Buckeyes’ cornerback to be drafted in the first round since 1991. He’s also got speed. Scouts say he’s exceptionally quick and can close in on the ball. Face it, the kid has it all.

2. Quinn wants an impact player with that third overall pick. “We have enough guidance in that range that we think we can do that. … Our goal is to get impactful players throughout the draft, whether they’re starters in the middle rounds or just backup and role players and special teams players later in the draft. Our goals haven’t changed, the circumstances have obviously,’’ Quinn said in his pre-draft press conference via Zoom.

3. With the trade of Darius Slay to the Eagles, the Lions have a big need at cornerback. They signed free agent corners Desmond Trufant and Tony McRae. Trufant is not a match for Slay one-on-one. 

4. It’s not common to draft a cornerback early. In the past 19 drafts only five cornerbacks have been drafted in the top five. Quinn said he had no problem with doing so (he wasn’t talking about a specific player) if the prospect was worth the pick. “If we go back to free agency a year ago, we signed Justin Coleman to play nickel and we paid him like a starter because we feel like you need three starting level corners to have a productive defense. So, why teams have shied away, I can’t really answer that. You have to ask the teams that have passed. I’ve never been this high in the draft to experience that,’’ Quinn said. 

5. Okudah is the top of the deep class at cornerback. CBSSports.com says, “(He’s) the best coverage CB in this class and it’s not even close.’’ If Quinn doesn’t grab him with the third overall pick, he’ll have a chance to draft corners later in the draft. But Okudah is a game-changer and could step in right away. Remember Slay only started four of 13 games he played in his rookie season. He wasn’t Big-Play Slay out of the gate, but turned into one of the best in the NFL. That’s exactly what could happen with Okudah.