Skip to main content

Grading Detroit Lions Rookies

Read more on how the rookies on the Detroit Lions roster have fared through their first four games

After the first four games of their NFL careers, some of the eight rookies on the Detroit Lions active roster have made some impact out on the football field, while others are still waiting in the wings to prove how they can aid their teammates. 

Let's take a look at how Detroit's rookies have fared through the first four games of the 2020 NFL season:

1.) Cornerback Jeff Okudah

In his debut against the Packers, Okudah struggled against star wideout Davante Adams, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense picked on Detroit's rookie early and often. 

Okudah demonstrated grit and a willingness to compete against the Cardinals, as he recorded his first career interception. 

In four games, Okudah has recorded 16 tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception.

His rookie season was always going to be a challenge, but Okudah is steadily improving with more playing time.

Grade: C+

2.) Running back D'Andre Swift

Many will remember Swift's NFL debut, as he dropped a Matthew Stafford pass in the end zone that would have given the Lions a victory in their opening game against Chicago. 

Since then, Swift has seen his role increase primarily in the passing game, as veteran Adrian Peterson has been given the bulk of the carries on the ground. 

Grade: C

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift

3.) Defensive end Julian Okwara

Through four games, Okwara has only played 25 snaps for Detroit' defense. 

Being a healthy scratch and only recording two quarterback hurries will not aid his first-quarter grade. 

Detroit's defensive line is struggling mightily and will need a much larger contribution from their third-round pick if the defense will turn things around. 

Grade: D

4.) Guard Jonah Jackson

Easily the best draft selection made by general manager Bob Quinn in 2020. 

Jackson's play has earned him a place on PFF’s All-Rookie quarter-season team.

“The fact that Jackson has made two starts at right guard and two starts at left guard makes his standing here all the more impressive,” PFF’s Michael Brenner explained. 

Grade: A

Recommended Lions Articles


Antonio Brown Shares Viral Meme After Buccaneers' Loss to Rams

How much did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers miss wideout Antonio Brown?


With Rams' Victory, Lions' Pick Will Be No Higher Than No. 29

The Lions cannot draft higher than No. 29 overall, with the second of their two first-round NFL draft picks in 2022.


Matthew Stafford Leads Los Angeles Rams to NFC Championship Game

The Los Angeles Rams will face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday evening.

5.) Guard Logan Stenberg

Detroit's fourth-round pick has only been active for one game and has yet to play a snap during his rookie campaign. 

At this point, Stenberg is a developmental player and won't likely be called upon much his rookie season, barring an injury to the current member of the offensive line. 

Grade: Incomplete

6.) Wide receiver Quintez Cephus

Kenny Golladay's return has halted the development of Detroit's firfth-round pick.

After seeing the field early and often the first two games of the season, Cephus has only played 16 snaps the past two weeks.  

Following the bye week, Detroit's offense should look to take more advantage of the skill set the former Badgers wideout brings to the table.

“Cephus is a really, really strong player, very physical, great catch radius, strong hands,” Quinn said following the NFL Draft.

Grade: C-

7.) Defensive tackle John Penisini

Penisini filled in admirably for an injured Nick Williams against the Saints. 

Detroit's sixth-round pick has taken advantage of increased playing time since the season began. 

In Week 1, he saw nine snaps against Chicago. 

Last week against the Saints, he played 22 snaps and earned respectable PFF grades in tackling and run defense. 

Grade: B-

8.) Tight end Hunter Bryant

Bryant has yet to see the field his rookie campaign due to battling a hamstring injury.

He is on track to make his NFL debut against the Jaguars following the bye week. 

"He has arguably the best receiving chops of any tight end in this class, putting up a receiving grade of 91.7 since 2017 to go along with a class-high 2.90 yards per route run," NBC Sports Northwest Jonathan Warner wrote following the Draft. "The Lions are already pretty heavily invested at tight end between spending a first-round pick on TJ Hockenson last season and signing Jesse James to a decent-sized deal, but Bryant brings a different element to the group and has the potential to really benefit that offense.”

Grade: Incomplete

Get the latest Detroit Lions news by joining our community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our SI All Lions page. Mobile users click the notification bell. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @detroitpodcast