Lions Rookie Class Dominating NFL With Fantastic Early Production

Kerby Joseph

Getty Kerby Joseph celebrates a big play with Lions teammates in 2022.

The Detroit Lions are building for the future while also trying to contend in 2022, and thus far, it’s been working out for them.

Why is that the case? The team’s rookie class has stepped up and delivered big plays from top to bottom, and the way the group is performing statistically and otherwise lends some major hope to the future.

It can be hard to keep up with just how well things are going for the Lions, but luckily, the team’s PR account put together a nice piece which showcased exactly what is going right for the team thus far.

As it showed, Detroit’s rookie class is surging on the defensive side of the ball, and is at or near the top of almost every single major statistical category.

“Below is a look at how the combined production of Lions rookies compares to the rest of the NFL: 1st in sacks (10.0), 1st in total pressures (58, per PFF), 1st in QB hurries (38), 2nd in INTs (5), 2nd in TFLs (13), t-2nd in FRs (2), t-3rd in FFs (2),” the site tweeted.

This production points to a bright future for the Lions, who may be able to build a bedrock foundation for long-term contention with these young players.

If there was one spot of the ball where the Lions needed to find some difference-makers for the future, it was on defense. The team has struggled most of the year, but these numbers show that a turnaround could be on the horizon soon.

Aidan Hutchinson, James Houston Look Like Gems

While all of Detroit’s rookies have been spectacular this year, a pair have jumped off the screen at a key position on the field. On defense, the Lions have needed more pocket pressure for a handful of years. A pair of rookies are delivering.

Thus far, the duo of Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston ranks first and second in the league in terms of rookie sacks this season, something the Lions pointed out. That may not seem significant, but given the struggles of the Lions to develop young pass rushers through the years, it is.

Houston has impressed quickly after having limited NFL experience. He played the first half of the season on the practice squad before getting turned loose on Thanksgiving. All he’s done is produce three quick sacks for the team. Hutchinson has been solid throughout the season, and has showed good instincts to intercept passes.

Add it up and the Lions have been fantastic this year on defense due to rookie production. This pair is leading the way in terms of pocket pressure, which is a very significant metric for the Lions to note.

Dan Campbell Appreciates Lions’ Rookie Production

Already, the class is off to a fast start. That’s something which has pleased the team’s head coach Dan Campbell along the way. Campbell said that the team likes what they’ve seen from the youngsters so far.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, December 7, Campbell was asked about the class and admitted that

“It’s good. It’s a sign of growth. You don’t know how it’s always going to work, but you draft these guys for a reason. That’s a credit to Brad (Holmes) and our scouts, scouting department, everybody. You’re hopeful, you see something in them. You don’t know how long it’s going to take. But we’ve been fortunate, all those guys have played a hand and contributed for us and had some big roles and production for us,” Campbell admitted.

Not only have the rookies had their moments of play time on the field, but they have produced. As the Lions look to take the next steps as a contender, that is very meaningful for the future and team building.

In the end, this class could end up finishing the season as one of the more accomplished groups in the league from a young player standpoint.

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