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Lions Rookie Report: How 2022 Draft Class Fared against Falcons

Detroit Lions rookies are getting an opportunity to prove themselves.

The Detroit Lions will need their young roster to step up and perform this season. 

General manager Brad Holmes and the coaching staff have made a concerted effort to field a young roster and infuse them with grit and a mindset that will pay dividends down the road. 

Let's explore how the Lions' rookies who suited up fared against the Falcons.

Aidan Hutchinson

Grade: A+

The No. 2 overall pick could not have had a better start to his NFL career. 

Earning a tackle for loss and being able to flash a new celebratory dance thrilled the crowd at Ford Field. 

“Yeah, it was awesome. It was awesome for sure. I’m glad I got the opportunity. I’m glad the plays came my way. I’m always grateful for that, and it’s just my job to make them," he said.

While he did not see the usual 70 snaps that he played in college, there was enough film to be able to break down and learn from in the next couple of weeks of training camp. 

“Obviously, no game is perfect," Hutchinson said. "I was out there for a few plays and have got to clean some things up. Just to trust my instincts a little better.”


Kerby Joseph

Grade: B-

The biggest takeaway for the young safety was earning 43 defensive snaps in his first preseason game. 

Joseph played 77% of defensive snaps with Ifeatu Melifonwu sidelined. 

It was observed that the young defensive back is often around the football, as he recorded five tackles and one assist. 

Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will have his work cut out for him, as the defense as a whole struggled again with tackling and making the big play when needed. 

Joseph is solid fundamentally and has a knack for forcing turnovers. The increased playing time could expedite his development his rookie season. 

Malcolm Rodriguez

Grade: C

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It was a nice start for the Lions' sixth-round pick, as he recorded a special teams hit and a tackle immediately. 

Unfortunately, he over pursued on a couple of plays, which resulted in solid gains by the Falcons' offense. 

The Lions defense does not get to see a mobile quarterback at practice, so the goal will be for the young members of the roster to learn from the film, since quarterback Jalen Hurts will be leading the Philadelphia Eagles into Ford Field Week 1. 

“I’m a lateral linebacker, so I’m able to move side to side and I do my job at the end of the day so I was able to put it on display today, and I was happy about that and coach Sheppard, he made that note and he said to just keep doing my thing and just keep doing my job.” 

While he had nerves going into the game, securing that first hit immediately got him in the game. 

"I was nervous at first. And after making a play, I was nervous, but then, I was like, ‘Man this is a football game.”

James Houston

Grade: C 

Houston only played 17 snaps, which was slightly less than what would have been expected. 

While he demonstrates a keen knack for rushing the quarterback, he was unable to make the impact he would have liked during his inaugural game in the NFL

Houston is clearly behind Rodriguez and Derrick Barnes on the depth chart, so the next two games will be imperative for the young rookie to get noticed more by the coaching staff. 

The linebackers unit as a whole struggled with gap responsibility and inconsistent tackling. 

Chase Lucas

Grade: D

Despite only earning seven snaps, the rookie had the chance to make the key play of the game.

When a football hits your hands and you have the opportunity to secure an interception, not making the play will leave everyone involved frustrated. 

It is expected that the young cornerback will see the field more in Weeks 2 and 3 of the preseason. 

If he is going to make the roster, the late-round draft pick must make plays as the preseason progresses

Did not play

  • Josh Paschal 
  • James Mitchell
  • Jameson Williams