Why the Detroit Lions may have gotten a steal in Malcolm Rodriguez

Many were surprised when the Detroit Lions passed on drafting a linebacker in the first two days of the 2022 NFL Draft. Perceived as possibly the Lions’ top need going into the three-day event, Detroit waited until Pick 188 too select a linebacker: Oklahoma State’s Malcolm Rodriguez.

Many Lions fans immediately fell in love. Rodriguez is undersized, but he’s a tenacious player, sound tackler and strong leader. In rookie minicamp, he stood out simply because while other linebackers were getting coached intimately by the Lions’ staff, it looked as if they had almost no notes for Rodriguez. He was already doing exactly what they wanted.

Of course, it’s important to remind ourselves that Rodriguez is a sixth-round pick. Expecting him to step up and take a starting role—either this year or any year—would be a remarkable performance above expectations for a Day 3 pick. Still, some have high hopes for the former wrestler (drink!).

So are Lions fans being irrational about a Day 3 pick or does Rodriguez truly have that high of a ceiling?

We chatted for about 30 minutes with Oklahoma State beat writer Scott Wright from The Oklahoman to learn everything we can about Rodriguez. Wright, indeed, believes that Detroit got a steal with Rodriguez, and while he’s not exactly predicting him winning a starting job right away, he does believe Rodriguez could have a long NFL career.

“Here’s what he’s going to bring and why I…

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