The Detroit Lions had plenty of rookie players they nabbed in the 2019 NFL Draft, and thus far, the ones they snatched up have been playing a big role for the team.
Despite the status of the Lions as a fringe contender this season with their average record, the team has been getting big plays out of their rookie class and plenty of snaps from the group. Recently, ESPN’s Field Yates took a look at rating the teams who had seen the biggest production in terms of snaps
The verdict? Detroit has gotten plenty from the rookies to the tune of 1,605 snaps. That’s a top 10 total in the league for a rookie class. Plenty of the other teams on the list save for the Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts are either in the NFL’s basement or are currently rebuilding, making what Detroit has done playing with younger players particularly impressive.
Detroit has gotten some big plays from T.J. Hockenson as well as some defensive snaps from names like Jahlani Tavai and Will Harris. Those three have carried the water in terms of production from this group in Detroit.
T.J. Hockenson Lions Top Offensive Rookie
When the Lions drafted Hockenson, it was with the understanding that he would be able to step in immediately and play starters minutes for the offense at the needy position of tight end. He’s done that so far in a major way for the team, and while his statistics haven’t been elite to start the year, that doesn’t tell the complete tale of what Hockenson has done.
With his work in the run game, Hockenson has helped Detroit’s offense go from woeful to respectable on the ground, and that itself is a huge accomplishment. In spite of his 240 yards and 2 touchdowns and a few costly drops, Hockenson has impacted the game across the board up front and in the passing game.
It will not be a stretch to see him consistently continuing to make plays for the offense well into the future, and his hot start this season shows he can be a force as he continues to grow and learn the NFL.
For now, while it might be easy to be the top rookie in a class nearly full of defensive picks, Hockenson deserves credit for showing up and looking the part thus far very early in his NFL career.
Jahlani Tavai Lions Top Defensive Rookie
While the Lions are beginning to get solid snaps from Harris at safety, Detroit has quietly seen the majority of their impact plays come from Tavai at linebacker. He already forced one vital fumble this season, and has put up 22 tackles and 1 sack thus far this year.
Tavai is going to be a bright spot at the position, and early on, he has not looked overmatched on the field in the NFL. That’s huge given his smaller school stature and the expectations Lions fans had for him coming out of college into the draft. As Tavai continues to work in Matt Patricia’s defense, the expectation is he will get even better and be able to play even more of a consistent role for the team.
With the snaps all of Detroit’s rookies have gathered so far, they could be setting themselves up for a very bright future. Classically, playing rookies extended minutes in the NFL is indicative of a bad team, but the Lions are bucking that trend and staying a