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Lions' Week 2 Rookie Report Card

All Lions grades the Detroit Lions' first-year pros, after the team's victory in Week 2.

The Detroit Lions are expecting big things from their rookie class throughout the 2022 season. In a Week 2 win over the Washington Commanders, a pair of rookies showed glimpses of stardom.

Aidan Hutchinson had a big first half, while Malcolm Rodriguez played well in his second career start. Outside of those two, though, little has been shown by Detroit’s rookie class.

James Mitchell and Demetrius Taylor were inactive Sunday, while Jameson Williams and Josh Paschal remain on injured reserve rehabbing injuries.

Here are the grades for each participating rookie in Sunday’s win over Washington. 

Aidan Hutchinson: B

Hutchinson set a Lions record in his second game with three sacks in the first half. It was an impressive effort by the former Michigan Wolverines EDGE defender, as he made numerous plays while moving along the defensive front.

At any given time, Detroit defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has the confidence to line Hutchinson up either on the edge or in the interior of the defensive line. Though the rookie has had his ups and downs, his burst off the edge was on full display in his dominant first half.

The second half wasn’t as promising. Hutchinson dealt with what head coach Dan Campbell called a ‘Charley Horse’ in the second half. Elsewhere, Hutchinson’s performance seemed to take a hit, as he appeared tired throughout the final stretch.

The conditioning issues are likely a result of the simple fact that Hutchinson plays extremely hard. His high-end effort is on display as he runs down ball-carriers.

Pro Football Focus gave Hutchinson a 57.7 overall grade for his showing in the win, which ranked fifth worst among the team's defenders. 

He’s still adapting, and will bite on the occasional run fake. But, there’s plenty to like about what he did against the Commanders.

Kerby Joseph: C

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Joseph's performance is nearly inconclusive. He was limited to strictly special teams snaps in the win. He did not record a tackle.

Malcolm Rodriguez: B+

After entering the season believed to be a special teamer, Rodriguez has played his way into the starting lineup. The biggest reason he fell to Detroit in the sixth round was his size, which hasn’t been a huge factor in his performance through two games.

The rookie finished Sunday’s victory with eight tackles, and he earned a 74.2 overall grade from PFF. He missed only one tackle attempt.

What makes the rookie adept in his role is his ability to diagnose plays and shed blockers. He went viral for his toss of Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce in Week 1, and nearly recorded a sack of Carson Wentz early in Week 2.

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The most telling stat about the confidence that Glenn and company have in Rodriguez is the fact that he played in 73 percent of the team's defensive snaps Sunday. Derrick Barnes, who competed for the starting job with the Oklahoma State product, played only on special teams.

As the rookie asserts himself, his workload will increase. The next step is a continued improvement in pass coverage. PFF gave him a 49.3 coverage grade, which is a step below his 80.3 mark from the season opener. Washington’s speedy receivers gave him trouble.

There’s no doubt that Rodriguez has the necessary physicality to compete in the NFL. With growth in coverage, he’ll leave plenty of GMs scratching their heads for passing on him in the draft.

Chase Lucas: C-

With Amani Oruwariye out with an injury, some wondered whether the seventh-rounder would receive significant snaps in Week 2. However, he played just two snaps on the defensive side, while also contributing on special teams.

Per PFF, Lucas allowed a 6-yard reception the only time he was targeted. Depending on Oruwariye’s availability, there may be additional playing time available for Lucas. Yet, that depends on the confidence that the defensive staff has in the rookie.