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Tuesday open thread: Who has been the Lions’ best rookie thus far?

Let’s focus on the positive this morning.

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Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It hasn’t been a good start to the Detroit Lions 2018 season, I don’t think I’m breaking any news by saying that. Standing at 1-3 after four games is just about as bad as things could get—even though Detroit’s one win was against the team everyone was expecting them would absolutely demolish them.

But if there’s one positive thing to take from the first quarter of the season, it’s that the Lions are getting a pretty solid amount of production from their rookies. The cynic would say that’s really just a sign that the roster is so weak—and they’d have a point—but let’s ignore that for now and take a moment to appreciate good play from young players. After all, that’s how you eventually build a sustained winning franchise.

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Which Detroit Lions rookie is having the best season right now?

My answer: The easy answer here is Kerryon Johnson, who has looked electric in his limited amount of playing time. However, I’m going to go with fourth-round pick Da’Shawn Hand.

Admittedly, my pick is partially influenced by draft spot here. The amount of production the Lions are getting out of Hand is much more than any team should be getting from a fourth-round pick this early in their career. Hand currently has 139 total snaps, which is the second most out of any Lions defensive lineman—more than veterans Sylvester Williams (133), Ricky Jean Francois (133) and Romeo Okwara (128). He’s only second to Devon Kennard, a guy the Lions shelled out for this offseason and is really considered a linebacker.

And Hand isn’t just seeing the field a lot, he’s been one of the most productive players on that side of the ball. His 81.5 Pro Football Focus grade ranks 17th among all interior defenders in the league. Last week against the Cowboys, Hand nearly had a game-winning strip sack, and according to PFF, his 90.8 pass rush grade in that game was the second-highest of any interior defender in Week 4.

If Hand can keep it up, he’ll be one of the few players currently on the defensive line that will be a building block for the future. Considering the team’s current heavy reliance on veteran, system players, Hand is especially valuable to the direction of the Matt Patricia-led Detroit Lions.

Your turn.

Poll

Who has been the Detroit Lions’ best rookie thus far?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Frank Ragnow
    (102 votes)
  • 42%
    Kerryon Johnson
    (258 votes)
  • 1%
    Tracy Walker
    (7 votes)
  • 39%
    Da’Shawn Hand
    (238 votes)
605 votes total Vote Now

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