Leading up to the 2020 NFL draft, we all talked a lot about the traits of prospects and how they translate to the next level. What gets lost sometimes is that not every prospect could excel in every scheme. Scheme fit and coaching are vital parts of early development and production in the league.
Let's focus on the rookies who landed in the offensive and defensive schemes that will allow NFL teams to maximize their ability, and I'll include stat projections from ESPN's Mike Clay along the way. Here are 10 first-year players who are set up to succeed early in their careers:
Jeff Okudah, CB, Detroit Lions (Pick No. 3)
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 205 | School: Ohio State
Clay's 2020 projections: 67 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble; 127 fantasy points
With high-end coverage traits -- footwork, hips, short-area speed -- Okudah is a natural fit in Detroit's man-heavy scheme. Last season, Matt Patricia's Lions defense played man-to-man coverage on 65.9% of opposing quarterbacks' dropbacks, the second-most in the NFL behind the New England Patriots.
Line up and challenge receivers. That's the drill for Patricia's team. And Okudah will do that. After adding veteran Desmond Trufant in free agency, Detroit now has two scheme-specific coverage corners with the twitch and transition speed to drive on the ball.