When the Detroit Lions selected LB Malcolm Rodriguez in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, I was probably as excited as anyone for multiple reasons. First of all, the Lions absolutely needed to add a linebacker in the draft and second, I had Rodriguez as a potential target.
Throughout the offseason, Rodriguez has continued to impress, and on Sunday, during his rookie debut, he looked like the Lions' best defender.
The Next Gen Stats Analytics team recently released their Top 10 rookie debuts from Week 1 and Malcolm Rodriguez came in as the No. 6 overall rookie and the No. 4 defender.
Detroit Lions: Malcolm Rodriguez has Top 5 rookie debut among defenders
Here is the breakdown via NFL.com:
KEY WEEK 1 METRICS:
- 44 defensive snaps
- 6 tackles (13.6 tackle percentage)
- 5 defensive stops (third among rookies)
- 2 run stuffs (most among rookies)
WEEK 1 OVERALL SCORE: 67
Rodriguez was all over the field against the Eagles, securing five defensive stops, which are tackles on plays that were successful for the defense. Rodriguez paced rookies in run stuffs (which are run plays in which the ball-carrier is stopped with a gain of 1 or fewer yards), including this clutch solo stop of Boston Scott on a third-and-1, when the Eagles were trying to run out the clock. The Hard Knocks standout earned a starting role on your TV this summer, and his Week 1 performance — Detroit head coach Dan Campbell told the media that the player known as “Rodrigo” did not miss a single assignment in Week 1 — suggests he might be there to stay.
Malcolm Rodriguez and his Detroit Lions teammates will host the Washington Commanders this Sunday at Ford Field and you can bet that “Rodrigo” will have some important responsibilities.