Next up for the 2015 POD Awards is the category for the Detroit Lions' Rookie of the Year. Here are the nominees:
The Lions' first-round draft pick wasn't considered a sexy pick by most, but one that certainly addressed a big need. The Lions tried to hold off rushing Tomlinson into the lineup, but a myriad of injuries had Laken starting Week 1 of the season. By the end of the season, Tomlinson had started 14 of 16 games, which is no small feat for a rookie. His play wasn't outstanding, but there was improvement as the season went on. There was also this:
#Lions rookie OG @laken77 with our Look For Work Block of the Year: https://t.co/IJYuRnIVxK pic.twitter.com/CczPB5ML1g— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) January 20, 2016
While Abdullah's impact in the running game could be considered disappointing (especially considering all of the hype after his first NFL career run went for a 24-yard touchdown), Abdullah found other ways to help out the team. Abdullah finished second in the league, averaging 29.1 yards per kickoff return and his 25 receptions was just four behind Lance Moore. Oh, and as for his rushing stats, Abdullah still led the team with 597 yards and a more-than-respectable 4.2 yards per carry.
After a tight camp battle with Emil Igwenagu, the Lions' fifth-round draft pick was plugged into the lineup and was a big contributor. As the team's only true fullback on the roster it was Burton's responsibility to be the lead blocker in many runs and he did so with consistent success. His play was good enough to place him on Pro Football Focus' midseason second all-pro team. However, Burton's role was limited to just 22.3 percent of the offense's snaps.
Diggs' play was good enough to be considered for the Breakout Player of the Year award. As mentioned in that article, Diggs was not expected to be much of a contributor in 2015 but injuries forced him into the lineup. Quandre wasted no time in making his case as the starting nickel cornerback. By the end of the season Diggs had put together seven very good games before taking a step back in the season finale. Still, that's an extremely impressive season for a sixth-round pick.