The Detroit Lions 2022 draft may go down as the layer of a greater foundation for things to come. However, the 6th round has perhaps turned the most heads.
James Houston has become the third Detroit Lions rookie to record a sack in his first four games. The success continues, as he has eight sacks on the season, most of any rookie, and a record through six games. He registered three on Sunday against the Bears. One of those was a strip sack on QB Justin Fields in the second quarter. His fumble slowed the Bears’ offense down. Houston was an interesting case because his size is undersized for an edge rusher. At 6-1 and 241 pounds, he’s not a massive force, but he shows raw athleticism and speed to get past bigger offensive lineman.
Malcolm Rodriguez continues his steady play on the defense. He has exceeded the team’s expectations so far. He has showed he can start in the NFL, as he has the third-most tackles (79) among rookies.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com mentioned Houston and Rodriguez on his evaluation of the 2022 Lions Draft Class and sung his praises as core parts of the future.
Credit coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes for adding a group of rookies who fit the Lions’ brand. Defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (Round 1, No. 2 overall), linebacker James Houston (Round 6, No. 217), defensive back Kerby Joseph (Round 3, No. 97) and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez (Round 6, No. 188) have brought grit, toughness and playmaking ability to a defense that has started to improve down the stretch. Although that unit is far from perfect, the group has been playing winning football since defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn ushered in a youth movement on his side of the ball.
No matter what happens on Sunday, the future is bright for the Lions defense.