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Who Was Lions' Rookie of the Year?

Logan Lamorandier gives his selection for the Lions' 2019 Rookie of the Year

The Lions had plenty of rookies see playing time in 2019. 

None of them really stood out as consistent difference makers, but there were some flashes of potential. 

First-round pick and tight end T.J. Hockenson started his career off with a bang, but fizzled out before ending the season on injured reserve. 

Linebacker Jahlani Tavai was the Lions' second-round pick, and produced some nice plays to go along with some forgettable ones. 

Third-round pick and safety Will Harris, meanwhile, saw plenty of snaps, but would go long periods of time without being noticeable. 

So, it begs the question: If you had to pick a Rookie of the Year from the Lions' group of first-year players, who would it be?

For me, the award goes to -- drumroll, please -- Amani Oruwariye.

First off, the cornerback from Penn State was a fifth-round selection, and didn't even see the field until Week 11. He only played 215 snaps on defense.

Hard to crown a player with such limited action, but Oruwariye made the most of his snaps. 

With low expectations, he was the one who most overachieved -- relative to his draft status -- in my mind.

Of all the rookies on the Lions' roster, he was the highest-graded at 71.4, per Pro Football Focus.

In nine games played, including two starts, he accumulated 19 tackles, three passes defensed and two interceptions. 

His two picks were tied for the team lead -- not like that is saying much, though.

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When looking at his interceptions, they were very impressive. 

Both were great grabs in which he plucked the ball out of the air. 

Neither interception was gifted to him. He simply made the play that was there to make.

Again, looking at PFF ranks, Oruwariye had the third-highest coverage grade for all rookie corners, and was the top-ranked Lions cornerback in the department.

Make no mistake, Oruwariye had some rookie struggles. 

He allowed three touchdowns, and got turned around on a few occasions. 

Also, his 108.5 passer rating against is nothing to be overly proud of.

Maybe giving the award to Oruwariye is a knock on the lack of production from Detroit's rookie class as a whole. 

However, he demonstrated potential, and was the best bang-for-your-buck of the Lions' rookies -- considering where he was selected in the draft.


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