Lions had two rookies highly ranked by Pro Football Focus

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown warms up before the game against the Packers on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Ford Field.
Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown warms up before the game against the Packers on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Ford Field. /

The Detroit Lions’ rookie class generally came off well in 2021, and Pro Football Focus ranked their top two first-year guys highly.

In general, the Detroit Lions‘ 2021 rookie class did pretty well. Offensive tackle Penei Sewell looks like he’ll be a long-term stalwart, as does wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackle Alim McNeill and undrafted rookie cornerback Jerry Jacobs made an impact when they got an opportunity.

Pro Football Focus put Sewell and McNeill on its 2021 All-Rookie Team. They’ve now unveiled their ranking of top-25 rookies from this season, without regard for position. Two Lions made it, and they are not surprising.

Lions top two rookies ranked highly by PFF

Here’s what PFF’s Anthony Treash wrote:

"9. T PENEI SEWELL, DETROIT LIONSSewell had a rough first five weeks in the NFL ranks, but he quickly rallied and became one of the top players at the position in the NFL. His grade from Week 6 on was the ninth-best among all tackles. The seventh overall pick did that while flipping from left tackle to right tackle midway through the year. Sewell was the best tackle prospect PFF has ever evaluated, and he is living up to the hype."

"11. WR AMON-RA ST. BROWN, DETROIT LIONSSt. Brown has gone from fourth-round pick to top-20-graded wide receiver in one year. Over the last six weeks, he even ranks third in PFF grade behind only Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams.While he might not be beating press-man on the outside, St. Brown has done an excellent job finding soft spots in zone from the slot. He also hasn’t dropped a pass since Week 3 and has caught half of his contested opportunities."

Sewell wasn’t too impressed with how he did as a rookie, which is purely a sign that he wants to be great. St. Brown looked like a potential draft steal in the fourth round last April, and he proved it as he carried a chip on his shoulder from having waited so long to be drafted.

The Lions not only had two top-25 rookies this season, as ranked by PFF, they had two top-12 rookies on the list. For those that hope the future is bright in Detroit, there’s a little bit more evidence to see.

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