Will Jeff Okudah be ready for Falcons season opener?

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The Falcons are done playing exhibition contests. The next time we see the team will be against the Panthers in front of a home crowd in Mercedes Benz Stadium.

However, before that, the club will have to cut nearly 40 players to get to the final 53-man roster. There are a lot of hard decisions coming down the pipe for Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith, but the Falcons also have other worries — injuries.

Most notably, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jeff Okudah have been banged up. The prospect of Patterson suiting up for Week 1 is good, but the same might not be true for the latter.

The former third overall pick is still recovering from an ankle injury that he suffered on August 4th. However, there is hope that Okudah might not miss any time at all. Smith told reporters that he’s optimistic but wouldn’t reveal whether or not he’d be ready for the season opener.

“I’m still optimistic,” Smith said. “I’m not going to put a timeline on it. What I said it then, I still feel very optimistic.”

Even though Jeff Okudah hasn’t realized his potential as a pro, a change of scenery could potentially benefit the Ohio State product. He’s coming off arguably his best season in which he logged an interception, 73 tackles, and seven passes defended in (most importantly) 15 games.

Okudah has struggled to stay healthy, but he’s by far the best option the Falcons have to start opposite A.J. Terrell. Okudah’s recovery is more important than him being available for Week 1. The goal should be for him to return as close to full health as possible. It’s a long season and the defense needs him for the entirety of it.

Nevertheless, it seems the Falcons should welcome him back in the early parts of the season.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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