2 Underrated Lions Rookies Receive New Training Camp Hype

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell during a training camp interview in 2022.

The best part of training camp often is the emergence of young or unexpected players, and the Detroit Lions could have a pair of good stories brewing from their rookie class.

While the names at the top of the class have generated most of the excitement so far, there are players further down the draft board that could be just impressive for the team.

A pair of those players mat have emerged on the defensive side in linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez as well as edge James Houston. Each were singled out by Dan Campbell before practice on Monday, August 1.

“A couple young names Dan Campbell mentioned as being excited to see in pads for the first time: James Houston & Malcolm Rodriguez. He said he already knows what Aidan Hutchinson is going to show coaches,” Twentyman tweeted.

The Lions, most importantly, could have needs at both of those spots on the field. The team has been looking for young linebackers to step up, and need to see what they can get in terms of rushers at quarterback.

It feels as if both of these players have a lot to offer the Lions, which speaks well to the excited feelings before camp turns up a bit.


Aaron Glenn Also Excited for Rodriguez & Houston

It’s not just Campbell that seemed ready to see what these rookie Lions players could do on the field in pads. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn also singled the duo out before Monday’s practice.

“DC Aaron Glenn also said he really wants to see Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston as players he’s excited to see in pads for the first time,” Twentyman tweeted.

The fact that Campbell and Glenn seem to be in lock-step on both of these players helps display what each might bring to the mix, and might help reveal hints on what each has done in practice so far.

Typically, Glenn is the type of coach that can be tough to impress, so for both of these guys to earn his respect so soon is telling.

From now moving forward, it will be interesting to see what type of role both can have on Detroit’s up-and-coming defense toward the preseason.


Rodriguez & Houston’s College Stats & Highlights

It’s easy to see what folks are so excited about with regard to this pair in camp given their work in college.

Rodriguez is a player who seems to work his way into big plays because he is near the ball. The college stats are wonderful for Rodriguez, given 408 tackles, 32 tackles for-loss, 7.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended and a whopping 13 forced fumbles.

Here’s a look at the clips:


Biggest Sleeper Linebacker In The Draft! II Malcolm Rodriguez HighlightsOklahoma State LB Malcolm Rodriguez 2021 Highlights Song: Tip Off – Money Man Bicho Prodz (Mine) Social Media Instagram: instagram.com/bicho.marti… Twitter: twitter.com/BichoMartnez1 Malcolm's Instagram: @malcolm_rod_20 Thanks For Watching!2022-03-22T03:01:00Z

In terms of Houston, he put up solid stats while playing in college. Last season, Houston put up 70 tackles, 24.5 tackles for-loss, 7 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions and 1 touchdown to go with 16.5 sacks at Jackson State. Houston played at Florida in 2020 and put up 37 tackles, 1 sack and 1 forced fumble.

Already, it looks as if the Lions have a few potentially great stories in the making with these young defensive studs. Watch them closely to see how they develop the rest of camp and the preseason.

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