The Detroit Lions failed to qualify for the NFL Playoffs for the sixth straight season. After falling short yet again, the front office is already looking ahead to the 2023 season. In addition to the team’s No. 6 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Detroit could be making other important moves in the next few weeks.
In 2022, the Lions had a poor start at 1-6. However, they bounced back by going 8-2 in the second half and entered Week 18 with chances of making it to the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, the win against the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers was not enough due to other results across the league.
Still, Detroit’s turnaround in the season shows some promise for the future. The team might be just a few players away from becoming a playoff team and even a dark-horse contender in the NFC.
With that being said, here is one trade that the Detroit Lions should complete during the 2023 offseason.
Detroit Lions receive: A 2023 third-round pick and multiple Day 3 picks
Los Angeles Rams receive: CB Jeff Okudah
One player on Detroit's roster who has been struggling in the past few seasons is Jeff Okudah. As the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the cornerback has yet to live up to expectations.
In three seasons in the league, Okudah has appeared in a total of 25 games. As a rookie, he played in just nine games as he underwent surgery to resolve a core muscle injury. In the 2021 season opener, he ruptured his Achilles tendon and spent the rest of the year on the injury reserve.
This past season, Okudah had his most productive year in the NFL. He played and started 15 games, recording 73 total tackles with 59 being solo and two for loss. He also had seven pass breakups, one forced fumble and a 20-yard pick-six.
While he did have his best year so far, Okudah might need more time to fully develop and recover. The problem is that the Lions might not have time to wait for him. Based on the second half of the 2022 season, Detroit could be ready to seriously compete.
Because of that, the team signed Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley in free agency to help the cornerback group. Detroit also re-signed Will Harris, who started 10 games this past season. Additionally, the Lions brought in safety C. J. Gardner-Johnson to improve the secondary.
With so many moves plus its goals for 2023, Detroit might not have many opportunities for Okudah. It is uncertain whether the team will even pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.
Should Detroit choose to part ways with Okudah, it could work a trade out with the Los Angeles Rams. Currently, the Rams have yet to make any key signings and do not own a first-round pick. Their biggest move was sending cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Miami Dolphins, creating a hole at the position.
Okudah could replace Ramsey in the starting lineup and might have one more shot at showing his value as a first-string player.
The Rams currently have two picks in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft plus seven in the fifth round or lower. If Los Angeles offers one of its third-rounders and multiple of those Day 3 selections, Detroit could accept the deal.
All things considered, the Lions would clear some cap space and not worry about Okudah's history of injuries anymore. Although he was a high selection in 2020, Detroit might not be able to trade him beyond this offseason. As for the Rams, they get a young player to fill a need while Okudah gets a new beginning in the league.