Jeffrey Okudah | Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Best cornerback in the draft is gifted to New York
I get asked all the time what I would do if Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, the chalk right now as the player mock drafters expect to go No. 3 to the Detroit Lions, is still on the board at No. 4. I usually says I would be tempted, but would likely still go best offensive tackle.
Well, in version 2.0 of his 2020 NFL mock draft, Mel Kiper put himself in that situation. After giving quarterback Joe Burrow to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 1 and EDGE Chase Young to the Washington Redskins at No. 2, Kiper made the stunning decision to give Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to the Detroit Lions at No. 3. Stunning because the Lions have been steadfast in saying Matthew Stafford is their quarterback.
So, that left Okudah, Clemson’s versatile Isaiah Simmons and ALL of the top offensive tackles on the board. Kiper chose Okudah for the Giants. Here’s his explanation:
So if Tagovailoa jumps into the top three, that means the Giants could choose between Okudah and Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, whom I mocked to New York in my first projection of picks 1-32. And after the Giants cut Janoris Jenkins in December, cornerback surged to the top of the team’s needs. First-round pick DeAndre Baker had a rough rookie season, racking up nine penalties and getting burned badly at times. Let’s get Okudah to New York in this scenario, locking down one side of the field with the clear top corner in this class. Edge rusher and offensive tackle are also positions this team must address in the offseason.
Okudah is The Draft Network’s No. 4 overall prospect. He is clearly the best cornerback in the class and clearly plays a position where the Giants need more talent.
Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs says:
Jeff Okudah is going to be a star at the NFL level — there’s no coverage he can’t play, no role he can’t fill in the secondary. Okudah pairs prototypical size with trust in his technique and dynamic movement skills and should be a lockdown cornerback at the NFL level in just about any system. This is a top of the 1st-round caliber player that will excel in man or zone and can be used to mirror and erase the opposition’s best receiver in the NFL. A future Pro Bowl/All-Pro player.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to make this selection in mocks I have done, but I quite honestly think it would be impossible to be unhappy if Okudah fell into the Giants’ lap.