When the Lions walked away from the 2022 NFL Draft, everyone knew that Hutchinson would be a fixture on the Lions’ defense, but few thought it would be Rodriguez who would arguably be the better player during the first four games of the season.
Aidan Hutchinson has shown moments of brilliance
The Athletic staff recently released their ‘Early All-Rookie Team’ and Aidan Hutchinson made the cut at the EDGE position, along with the No. 1 overall pick, Travon Walker.
This is a tough conversation, because — as was the case when we evaluated this position before the draft — there’s good news and bad news all over the place. While Hutchinson leads all rookie edges through four games with “true pass set pressures” (nine), per Pro Football Focus, and sacks (three), both he and Walker have had rather pedestrian win rates (PFF grades each at 8 percent). The top two picks in April’s draft have shown solid, improving work against the run, though, and each has offered glimpses of a much higher ceiling.Via The Athletic
Hutchinson turned heads all throughout the offseason and though he has flashed at times during the regular season, he is going to have to make some adjustments if he wants to be the force the Lions need him to be.
Malcolm Rodriguez is not playing like a sixth-round pick
Also making the ‘Early All-Rookie Team’ is Lions LB Malcolm Rodriguez, who has taken the city by storm.
Rodriguez may be an undersized sixth-round pick but he has arguably been the Lions’ most consistent defensive player through the first four games.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez (33 tackles, three tackles for loss, two QB hits) has been a bright spot on a miserable Detroit defense. It was an absolute robbery that the Lions were able to snag Rodriguez in Round 6 (No. 188). He’s already playing 72 percent of defensive snaps and making a huge impact on special teams.Via The Athletic
At this point, there is not much to not like about Rodriguez, and it looks as if Lions’ GM Brad Holmes got one of the biggest steals of the 2022 NFL Draft.