Why Ohio State corner Jeff Okudah makes sense for the Lions at No. 3 in the NFL draft

The Detroit Lions have a need at cornerback -- that is without question and why taking Ohio State prospect Jeff Okudah No. 3 in the NFL draft makes sense.

Detroit signed former Atlanta Falcons corner Desmond Trufant to a two-year, $20 million deal in free agency to likely be their top corner. After trading Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles and, for now at least, not re-signing Rashaan Melvin, who was the other starter last year, there is room for an immediate-impact player.

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The Lions still have Justin Coleman in the slot, and are hoping Amani Oruwariye can take a step in his second season to push for an outside corner starting job.

While it’s hard to see them paying high-level dollars for another cornerback, if they could get a player like Prince Amukamara, Logan Ryan or Ronald Darby to come to Detroit for somewhere between $4 million and $7 million per year -- that could be an interesting solution for the Lions. But corner is a still a need, even if that happens, because all of those players are closing in on or over 30 already.

The Lions have a history at No. 3 of taking defensive backs -- and a good history overall at No. 3. The Lions took Barry Sanders, the greatest player in team history, third overall in 1989. There have been other strong picks for the club at No. 3, including Howard Cassady (1956) and two strong defensive backs in Hall of Famer Johnny Robinson (1960) and longtime Lions stalwart Bennie Blades (1988), although Robinson never played for the club. In all, seven defensive backs have gone at No. 3 -- the last being Shawn Springs in 1997.

Okudah should be an easy pick, if Ohio State defensive end Chase Young is not available. Okudah fills a clear need and is an incredibly fluid corner prospect who has elite coverage skills and good enough speed with a 4.48 40-yard dash time. Plus, he’s a good press corner and a good man corner -- two things that are imperative under Matt Patricia. He would come in and be able to play right away at a position that is traditionally a tough transition in the NFL. Other than Young, he might be the top-end prospect who is most suited to what the Lions would want and need in the draft.

Of course, there’s the definite possibility Detroit trades out of the No. 3 pick with the Miami Dolphins at No. 5 or the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 6 so one of those teams can select quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Dropping down to No. 5 or 6 would net the Lions more potential picks in 2020 and 2021 to help rebuild their team along with the opportunity to still potentially snag Okudah, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown or South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw -- all of whom could be fits and sensible for Detroit in the top 10.

Of those, Simmons probably offers the most versatility -- he can play safety or linebacker -- and Okudah might be the best pure talent, while Brown and Kinlaw would fill needs on a Detroit defense needing improvement on every level. The Lions, particularly if they trade out of No. 3, should be happy with any of those options. If they are at No. 3, though, and Young is not available, the two picks making the most sense would be Okudah or Simmons -- just depending what type of player the Lions want.