The Detroit Lions have gotten a big season out of their rookies, and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez has been arguably one of the most impressive of anyone.
Detroit’s sixth round pick has been flying around the field all year long, and the best news remains how he has not yet hit a rookie wall, even amid a long season dragging on.
While many rookies struggle, Rodriguez has been steady and consistent, something which was evident again in Week 12. During the game against the Buffalo Bills, Rodriguez continued to play hard and ended up as the highest graded rookie defender from PFF as a result.
Rodriguez picked up a 90.5 rating from the game from the site, which was impressive considering he was playing against one of the best offenses in the NFL. Not only did Rodriguez survive that test, but he thrived within it, putting up six total tackles in the game.
As the season pushes on, it’s just another significant feather in the cap for the youngster to note. He hasn’t fallen off the map at all during the dog days of the NFL season, but is continuing to get better.
Rodriguez Enjoying Impressive Rookie Year
So far this year, these PFF accolades are only one part of the story for Rodriguez. The rookie has come to play no matter what type of shout-outs he has received for his work.
Statistically, Rodriguez has been very solid for the Lions, if not elite in his own way. The linebacker has put up a total of 64 tackles, one forced fumble and one sack this season through Week 12. He feels like a lock to finish with more than 80 tackles the rest of the way given how active he is.
Overall, Rodriguez has been one of the most pleasant surprises on the entire team for the Lions. He continues to impress week in and week out, and is going to finish the season as one of Detroit’s best rookie linebackers in a while statistically.
Alex Anzalone Gave Rodriguez Credit for Pick
Against the Bills, Rodriguez almost had his first career interception, but the ball slipped through his hands and into the waiting arms of veteran linebacker Alex Anzalone.
After the game, Anzalone was ready to give the rookie all of the credit for the key assist. Anzalone made one of the key plays of the day for the Detroit defense when he picked the Josh Allen pass in the red zone after Rodriguez got in front of the ball originally.
Anzalone took the tipped pass and snuffed out a promising Bills drive to net his own offense some major momentum. As he said, though, the play was one that he seemed to be in the right place in the right time for thanks to Rodriguez first.
“Malcolm (Rodriguez) got his hands on (it). I saw the ball and he had a good read and then I just saw them all grab it. (I) tried to get busy a little bit. Had to sell the second one too. I know I did a poor job. I knew right away (it hit the ground). I knew I hit the ground but I gotta do a better job (selling it),” Anzalone joked.
With as active as he has been around the ball, it would not be a shock to see Rodriguez get an interception of his own in the coming weeks.
He continues to be all over the field not only piling up stats and accolades for himself, but for his teammates as well.