We're one quarter of the way through the NFL season, and several rookies have already made big contributions to the Detroit Lions in 2013. Let's take a look at how each rookie has performed so far this season using grades from Pro Football Focus.
DE Ziggy Ansah (Round 1, 5th overall): +4.3
Ansah currently has 2.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble. If not for a couple ill-timed penalties, he'd already be up to 4.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Either way, he's had an outstanding start to his career, and he's actually currently ranked as the No. 15 4-3 defensive end on PFF (three spots ahead of Willie Young).
CB Darius Slay (Round 2, 36th overall): -5.1
Slay opened the season as a starter, but he ended up being benched in each of his first two games. Since then, Rashean Mathis has started in his place, and Slay was actually relegated to strictly playing special teams in Week 3. Last week, he saw extensive playing time at cornerback with Mathis getting hurt, and he was much better than earlier in the season. That's not saying much, though, as Slay started his career with a -4.4 grade. That has set him back quite a bit, and he's all the way down at No. 93 on PFF's cornerback rankings. (Bill Bentley is actually even worse at 98th.)
OG Larry Warford (Round 3, 65th overall): +4.5
Warford has been one of the Lions' best offensive players. Not bad for a first-year starter on the offensive line, right? Warford has especially excelled in pass blocking, and he's ranked as the 14th-best offensive guard on PFF.
DE Devin Taylor (Round 4, 132nd overall): +1.5
Taylor hasn't played a ton this season, but that's going to change going forward with Jason Jones out for the year. In his limited amount of snaps, Taylor has looked pretty impressive, and he's already registered a +1.4 grade in the pass rush category.
P Sam Martin (Round 5, 165th overall): +13.4
Martin has done an outstanding job as both the Lions' punter (+6.5) and kickoff specialist (+8.4). He's averaging 48.8 yards per punt and has a net average of 41.9 yards per punt. On PFF, he's ranked as the 10th-best punter and the ninth-best kickoff specialist.
RB Theo Riddick (Round 6, 199th overall): -0.2
Riddick, like Taylor, has had a pretty limited role so far this season. He's only carried the ball twice (for -2 yards), and he only has 1 catch (for 8 yards). On special teams, he has a grade of -2.5 on PFF based on what he's done while covering kickoffs.
Note: Draft picks Corey Fuller and Brandon Hepburn are on the practice squad and Michael Williams is on injured reserve.
Undrafted free agents
WR Patrick Edwards: +0.7
Is Edwards really a rookie considering he was technically in the NFL in 2012? Perhaps not, but this is his first season on the 53-man roster, and he's recorded 3 catches for 30 yards so far in two games. An ankle injury has kept him out lately, but he should see a lot of playing time once he returns with Nate Burleson injured.
OT LaAdrian Waddle: N/A
Waddle has been active for three games, but he's only actually played in two so far. And in those two games, he only saw action on special teams for the Lions.
TE Joseph Fauria: +0.5
Fauria hasn't yet seen an extensive amount of playing time, but he already has 4 catches for 32 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has served as an excellent red zone weapon for the Lions, and I have to imagine he will get more playing time as the season progresses.