Okudah a strong favorite for Lions’ top draft pick

Detroit Lions

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The heat is on for the Detroit Lions front office, with the team’s owner saying at the end of last season that she expects them to be a contender in the upcoming season. The path to making that happen starts with the NFL draft later this week.

“(Martha Firestone Ford) said she expects them to play meaningful games in December and be a playoff contender,” Mike O’Hara, who writes for DetroitLions.com, said. “Well, we’ll see about that, but everything is important. The off-season free agent program … was important, and now the draft. And the draft is really, it’s the foundation of a football team if you have time to build over a period of time. I think it’s critical for the Detroit Lions.”

The Lions have the third pick when the draft opens Thursday evening, and chatter is that they are interested in cornerback Jeff Okudah out of Ohio State.

“I think on his own, Okudah is really one of the top four or five players in this year’s draft,” O’Hara said. “I also think that any trade you trade down to a certain level, maybe five with the (Miami) Dolphins, six with the (Los Angeles) Chargers, I think he’ll probably be there.”

Other possibilities: Clemson linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons or Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown.

“But they’ll be happiest if they draft Okudah,” O’Hara said. “I think there will be trade offers for the Detroit Lions, it’s just a question of what they want to do.”

==Hear more analysis from O’Hara above.==