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Evaluating the Lions' rookies through eight games

How did the Detroit Lions' rookies do during the first half of the 2014 season? Let's take a look.

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Ron Antonelli

One of the most remarkable things about the Detroit Lions' 6-2 start is that they've gotten virtually no contributions from their 2014 rookie class. Unlike last year, when several rookies saw extensive playing time and made a major impact, this year's rookie class has done very little through eight games. Take a look (grades are via Pro Football Focus):

Draft picks

TE Eric Ebron (Round 1, 10th overall): +1.5

Thanks in part to a recent injury, Ebron hasn't had a chance to do a whole lot so far this season. He's graded out surprisingly well on PFF as a blocker, but he's only caught 10 passes for 103 yards and one touchdown. Assuming he gets healthy, the Lions really need to get him more involved in the second half of the season.

LB Kyle Van Noy (Round 2, 40th overall): N/A

Van Noy was on injured reserve with the designation to return for the first half of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a core muscle injury in August. He could make his official NFL debut this week.

C Travis Swanson (Round 3, 76th overall): +0.4

Swanson has only been used as an extra blocker in certain situations, so there's not much to go on for him right now. This is no surprise, of course, as Swanson was expected to spend his rookie season in a backup role behind Dominic Raiola.

CB Nevin Lawson (Round 4, 133rd overall): -1.7

Lawson was poised to become the Lions' starting nickelback after Bill Bentley tore his ACL in Week 1, but Lawson suffered a season-ending injury of his own in Week 2.

DE Larry Webster (Round 4, 136th overall): N/A

Webster hasn't played a single snap all season. He has actually been active for two games, but clearly he wasn't in the Lions' defensive game plan in either of them. That has more to do with the Lions' depth at defensive end than anything, though, as Webster actually looked quite impressive in the preseason.

DT Caraun Reid (Round 5, 158th overall): -3.9

Reid has seen a fairly limited number of snaps this year, although his workload increased quite a bit in London with C.J. Mosley suspended and Nick Fairley injured. Reid's workload will likely continue to be heavier than usual going forward with Fairley out for the time being, so hopefully he will perform more like he did in Week 8 (+0.1 grade) than he did in the first seven weeks (combined grade of -4.0).

WR TJ Jones (Round 6, 189th overall): N/A

Jones has been on the PUP list since having offseason shoulder surgery. There's a chance he could start practicing in the near future, but it's unclear if he will actually be added to the 53-man roster this season.

K Nate Freese (Round 7, 229th overall): -2.2

Oh dear. Freese lasted all of three games as the Lions' starting kicker after going 3-for-7 on field goals. In hindsight, the Lions probably should have kept Giorgio Tavecchio coming into the season, but then again, there's no guarantee he would have fared much better.

Undrafted free agents

OT Cornelius Lucas: -2.0

Thanks to injuries at right tackle, Lucas has been forced into action as part of a rotation with Garrett Reynolds. Lucas actually has a slightly better grade than Reynolds, who is at a -2.3 right now, but neither player has really been all that effective this season.

CB Mohammed Seisay: +0.2

Seisay has been on the field for only 10 defensive snaps this season. Most of his contributions have come on special teams.