Detroit Lions James Houston Aidan Hutchinson NFL rookie grades

Detroit Lions James Houston Aidan Hutchinson NFL rookie grades

Jameson Williams, the No. 12 overall selection in the 2022 draft, made his NFL debut on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, although in a limited role. 

Meanwhile, James Houston continued to shine, and Josh Paschal played in his first game since Week 10. 

Without further ado, here are the Week 13 grades for the Lions’ rookie class. 

WR Jameson Williams: C-

It was a quiet NFL debut for the former Alabama wideout. He logged just eight offensive snaps, and he and Detroit signal-caller Jared Goff failed to connect on Williams’ lone target of the game. 

It was reported prior to Detroit’s Week 13 tilt that Williams, the No. 12 overall pick in the 2022 draft, was going to be deployed as a gunner on special teams against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the Lions failed to punt a single time in their 40-14 win against Jacksonville, and Williams subsequently remained on the sideline for the majority of the contest.

I expect the speedster to be more involved in the passing game in the Lions’ Week 14 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. 

EDGE James Houston: A 

Two career games and three total sacks already for the first-year EDGE rusher.

The Jackson State product played a few more defensive snaps (12 compared to five) and special teams snaps (16 compared to 10) than a week ago, and recorded at least one sack and two quarterback hits for the second consecutive week. The performance earned him a 86.3 grade from Pro Football Focus, the highest mark among all Lions defensive players for the week.

With how solid Houston has been for Detroit through his first two weeks as an NFL player, it begs the question: Why wasn’t he signed to the Lions’ active roster sooner?

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LB Malcolm Rodriguez: B-

“Rodrigo” had a quiet week in the stat sheet in Week 13. 

He recorded three total tackles on just 22 defensive snaps, his lowest total since recording a season-low 19 snaps in Week 9 against the Green Bay Packers. Yet, he received a 69.3 overall mark from PFF for the week, the fifth-highest grade among all Lions defenders. 

It’d be nice to see the Oklahoma State product more active Sunday against the Vikings, whom he totaled eight tackles against in Week 3. 

TE James Mitchell: F 

For the second time in three weeks, Mitchell wasn’t targeted a single time by Goff. 

Meanwhile, fellow tight ends Shane Zylstra and Brock Wright each had at least one catch. Wright, in fact, amassed two receptions for 25 yards. 

Wright is clearly ahead of Mitchell on the Lions’ tight ends depth chart, and the team hasn’t utilized its tight ends in the passing game much lately. So, a no-catch game like this against Jacksonville might be a sign of things to come for the former Virginia Tech pass-catcher. 

He also earned a lowly PFF grade of 48.5 for his efforts in Week 13. 

And, to me, his performance on Sunday doesn’t warrant a passing grade. 

EDGE Aidan Hutchinson: B  

It wasn’t a signature Hutchinson performance on Sunday, but the rookie EDGE still managed to generate multiple pressures against Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. 

The Michigan product finished the Week 13 contest with a half-sack of Lawrence, upping his season total to six sacks. The mark leads all rookies.

Additionally, Hutchinson is now the first NFL defensive lineman with at least six sacks and two interceptions in a single season since 2010. In the aforementioned campaign, both Jared Allen and Julius Peppers accomplished the feat. 

So far, so good for the No. 2 overall pick in his debut season. 

S Kerby Joseph: B 

Joseph was actively involved on Sunday, and recorded a team-high eight total tackles. He continues to showcase a knack for finding the ball. And, although he didn’t come up with a big play, he put together a decent showing in the blowout win against Jacksonville. 

EDGE Josh Paschal: D 

In his first game back since Week 10, it was a quiet showing from the Kentucky product

He played in a season-low 27 percent of the team’s defensive snaps, and logged just a single tackle. For his efforts, he earned a 49.8 overall grade from PFF, the fourth-lowest mark among all Detroit defenders for the week. 

It’d be nice to see the first-year EDGE defender bounce back with a solid performance against the Vikings. 

CB Chase Lucas: D 

The rookie defensive back continues to play minimally on defense. He logged one defensive snap and another 14 special teams snaps against Jacksonville, and he came up with one total tackle. 

In 2022, Lucas has consistently been the Lions’ least impactful rookie. 

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