The Detroit Lions got a lot of contributions from rookies in 2021, and their first-year class of players has been regarded highly by a couple notable sites.
From first-round pick Penei Sewell to fourth-round pick Amon-Ra St. Brown on down to undrafted free agents Jerry Jacobs and Brock Wright, the Detroit Lions got contributions from a lot of rookies this season. Third-round pick Alim McNeill should not be forgotten as well.
ESPN and Pro Football Focus have come out with their lists ranking the 2021 rookie classes in the NFL. ESPN, with a nod to using PFF’s WAR metric, ranked the Lions’ rookie class No. 6 in the league. It’s an ESPN Insider link, so credit to Pride of Detroit for the quote from the article.
"Detroit owned two of the 12 most valuable non-quarterback rookies in the 2021 draft class with first-round offensive tackle Penei Sewell and Day 3 wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown,” the article read. “Undrafted free agent cornerback Jerry Jacobs also ranked inside the top 25 among that group. Sewell’s success was to be expected, but St. Brown and Jacobs surpassed expectations with flying colors.”"
On Pro Football Focus’ own list (premium content), the Lions’ 2021 rookie class came in fifth in the league.
Detroit Lions rookie class laid a big part of what looks to be a promising foundation
Sewell was going to be a starter immediately, but extra credit to him is due since he played left and right tackle as a rookie (and did both at a good level, outside of a couple rough games on the left side).
St. Brown had an opportunity in front of him right off the bat. But late in the season he exceeded expectations as one of the most productive wide receivers in the entire league.
Before a torn ACL in Week 14, Jacobs was a real find. McNeill had some good moments in the middle of the defensive line, and Wright started five games at tight end.
As Brad Holmes heads toward his second draft as Lions general manager, he can count his first run through the draft (and undrafted free agency) as a solid win.