Jeff Okudah has won the starting cornerback job for the Detroit Lions, coach Dan Campbell said Sunday following his team's 19-9 loss at Pittsburgh in the preseason finale.
Although Detroit's first depth chart of the summer listed Okudah, the third overall pick of the 2020 NFL draft, behind Will Harris at cornerback for the first-team defense, that has now changed following the conclusion of preseason play.
Campbell confirmed during his postgame news conference that Okudah had secured the starting job.
During training camp, defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn originally declared an open competition between the two on who would start on the opposite side of Lions defender Amani Oruwariye.
"Love where Jeff is going, love how he did step up to the challenge," Campbell said. "He answered the bell. He wasn't afraid of the competition, and he went after it and I would say he's earned him a spot."
Both of Okudah's first two seasons have been cut short, first due to a season-ending groin injury as a rookie, then an Achilles' injury suffered during Week 1 of his sophomore season.
Against the Steelers on Sunday, Okudah made two tackles, including a pass breakup to deny a touchdown.
"I thought he did some good things," Campbell said. "I feel like he's been trending in the right direction now for two weeks. So, I would say he finished up strong and he's going in the right direction."
After the game, Okudah tweeted: "Thank you for all the support through the highs and lows... God is good."
Thank you for all the support through the highs and lows... God is good. 🙏🏾— Jeff Okudah (@jeffokudah) August 29, 2022
Okudah is the starter, but Glenn envisions both he and Harris having a role in the defense.
"As the season progresses, those roles as far as dime, those roles as far as penny package, that guys will have a role," Glenn said. "So, each guy will have their chance to go out there and play."