Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford (9) throws a pass under protection by guard Larry Warford (75) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions: Is Larry Warford a Rookie of the Year Candidate?

Detroit Lions rookie guard played his best game of the season against the Steelers on Sunday. Pro Football Focus gave Warford his highest pass blocking grade of the season (+2.0) combined with a solid run blocking rating (+2.1) leading him to his highest single game rating of the year at +4.9.

It was a solid game in what has been a solid first season for Warford. In fact, it might be time to start the rookie of the year campaign. Pro Football Focus keeps a running list of the top ten rookie season ratings. Jets’ defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson leads the way, but Warford is second and is the top offensive rookie so far. PFF had this to say in this week’s rookie update:

Given how Warford has taken to life in the NFL you wonder what teams were watching that he fell as far as he did. Looks built for the game at this level and, like Richardson, is coming off his best game of the year. A legitimate contender for Pro Bowl honors.

Unfortunately, the Rookie of the Year voting is subject to the same positional biases seen with other major awards. The AP has named an offensive ROY every year since 1967 and an offensive lineman has never won.

Award or not, the Lions have to be credited with a major hit in the third round with Larry Warford. In a year when many fans were clamoring for the safe pick of Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper in the first round, the Lions found someone better much later.

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