Detroit Lions: Rookie Watch

Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a first half of the season when the Lions got next to nothing out of their rookie class, Detroit is at least seeing a healthy group now.

Ebron
First-round pick Eric Ebron returned to the lineup Sunday and caught all four passes thrown to him. Second-round pick Kyle Van Noy saw a few more snaps than a week ago, but remains a work in progress.

Third-round pick Travis Swanson played every snap Sunday because of injury, his first step to replacing either center Dominic Raiola or left guard Rob Sims down the road.

So these are signs of progress for Detroit, even if the Lions aren’t getting the immediate impact out of this rookie class that they did a season ago when Ezekiel Ansah, Larry Warford and Sam Martin were immediate impact players.

Here is how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Returning from a hamstring injury and playing the most significant time of his season. Ebron caught all four passes thrown his way for 22 yards and lined up all over the field, which seemed to be the plan for him from the time he was drafted. It was the most comfortable he looked on the field, and he seemed happy with what he was able to do after the game. He was also flagged for an offensive pass interference penalty in the first half. With Brandon Pettigrew out, Ebron played 33 snaps -- the most of any Detroit tight end.

LB Van Noy (second round, BYU): After playing only two snaps in his debut last week, he saw a little more action Sunday, including making his first big play -- a tackle for loss on a slow handoff between Drew Stanton and Andre Ellington. He is still a long way from the player Detroit needs him to be, but he had an impact play in a game for the first time. In all, Van Noy played seven snaps -- five more than in his debut. He also had 17 special teams snaps.

OL Swanson (third round, Arkansas): He played every snap at right guard in place of the injured Warford. According to Pro Football Focus, Swanson only allowed one hurry of quarterback Matthew Stafford, but had a rough minus-4.2 overall grade. That is mostly due to run blocking, where he graded out at a minus-4.8 by the PFF metric.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive Sunday.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid did not record a statistic in his four defensive snaps. He also had one special teams snap. His role now is clearly the fourth defensive tackle.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is eligible to start practicing and potentially come off the PUP list if the Lions choose to do that.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): LaAdrian Waddle's various injuries continue to give Lucas playing time. He entered the game when Waddle left with an ankle injury and played 15 snaps. PFF credits him with one quarterback hurry, but otherwise he was pretty decent and didn’t have any glaring mistakes. He is learning.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): He eventually ended up working his way into the game in dime looks. He played three overall snaps and made one tackle. He also had eight snaps on special teams.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

With LaAdrian Waddle back in the lineup and a secondary returning to health, there was not much room for the Lions rookies to do much.

And other than first round pick Eric Ebron, none of the Lions’ first-year players got much run against Buffalo during the Lions’ 17-14 loss to the Bills.

Here’s how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): With Joseph Fauria out and Calvin Johnson not playing a lot, Ebron saw a good amount of time Sunday against Buffalo. He played 37 of 62 snaps -- the same amount as the Lions’ other tight end, Brandon Pettigrew. He also played 25 special-teams snaps, more than any other offensive player and behind only Isa Abdul-Quddus and Ashlee Palmer among all players. Ebron had two catches for 8 yards on four targets. One of his other targets appeared to be a touchdown, but it was ruled an incomplete pass.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He’s on injured reserve/designated to return. He won’t be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): A week after seeing his first offensive snaps in goal line, Swanson was back to special-teams duty only with nine snaps.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive Sunday against the Bills.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid played eight defensive snaps as a reserve defensive tackle, but didn’t record a statistic. He did not play at all on special teams.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the PUP list for now. Won’t play until midseason more than likely. Even then will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released in favor of Alex Henery.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): With LaAdrian Waddle back in the lineup, Lucas was relegated to special teams again. He played five snaps on special teams.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): He played one defensive snap and 14 on special teams and didn’t record a statistic. Couplin was also the player who hit Ron Brooks that caused him to flip on his head during the first half. Brooks was sent to the hospital.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): He had one special-teams tackle in 22 snaps on teams. He did not play a defensive snap as the Lions’ fourth cornerback.

Rookie Report: Lions Week 4 vs. Jets

September, 29, 2014
9/29/14
10:30
AM ET
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

Eric Ebron finally saw the bigger role he craved. Travis Swanson finally saw a brief cameo on offense.

And the Lions' undrafted rookies, well, were used in the type of roles undrafted rookies should be used in early in their careers Sunday during the Lions’ 24-17 win over the New York Jets.

Here’s how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Pro Football Focus had Ebron at 34 snaps, in part due to the injury to Joseph Fauria. Ebron did well, too. He caught three of his four targets for 34 yards and his first career touchdown. He knew he would have a shot at a touchdown based on the pre-snap read – it was something pretty obvious from the press box, too – because there was no one matched up on him at the line of scrimmage. Two of this three catches went for first downs as well. According to PFF, Ebron was in for 18 passing plays and run blocked on 16 plays, including a plus-0.4 grade in run blocking.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He’s on injured reserve/designated to return. He won’t be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Swanson played two plays on offense – both in a jumbo package on the goal line where he was the eligible receiver. He was not thrown to, though, and ended up blocking on Matthew Stafford’s touchdown scramble. Otherwise, Swanson continued in his special-teams role.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster dressed for the first time in his career Sunday, but did not play.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid got in on eight plays, according to Pro Football Focus. He had two assisted tackles in those snaps, but graded out very negatively Sunday with a minus-2.1 rating, including a minus-1.8 on run defense. Reid remains the team’s fourth defensive tackle.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the physically unable to perform list for now. He won’t play until midseason more than likely. Even then he will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese was released.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Garrett Reynolds once again got the start and played the majority of the snaps Sunday. PFF has Lucas with 16 snaps and an overall rating of 0.0 – fairly neutral. Lucas gave up a sack, according to PFF and, frankly, appeared to struggle at other times. Neither he nor Reynolds stood out, continuing the call for LaAdrian Waddle to return as soon as possible. PFF had Lucas pass blocking on 14 plays and run blocking on two plays.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): Couplin was active and played special teams, but did not record a statistic.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): Seisay was active and played special teams, but did not record a statistic.

Rookie Report: Week 3 vs. Green Bay

September, 22, 2014
9/22/14
11:30
AM ET
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

Another week, another rookie makes his debut for the Detroit Lions.

Seisay
Seisay
Mohammed Seisay was called up to the 53-man roster Saturday to help an increasingly depleted Detroit secondary, and he actually ended up seeing some run at the nickel in the second half along with some time on special teams.

Otherwise, it was a fairly light day for the Lions rookies.

Here’s how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Ebron went without a catch for the second time in three games, and he wasn’t much of a factor when it came to Matthew Stafford's looks anyway. Ebron was targeted only once by Stafford. He rotated in with Joseph Fauria once again this week. Ebron played 23 snaps against Green Bay after 26 the week before against Carolina, but essentially split with Fauria.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He’s on injured reserve/designated to return. He won’t be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Swanson played on special teams, including kick return, for seven snaps. He won’t see an offensive snap this season unless one of Detroit’s interior linemen suffers an injury or if there is a blowout.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster dressed for the first time in his career Sunday, but did not play.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson is on injured reserve with dislocated toes. His season is over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid dressed and played two defensive snaps. He did not record a statistic.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the PUP list for now. He won’t play until midseason more than likely. Even then he will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Another rough outing for Freese and his job is in jeopardy. He missed a 41-yard field goal to end the first half and Detroit coach Jim Caldwell once again said the team will be evaluating the kicker position. Freese held on to his job last week. It might not be as easy over the next two days.

RT Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Lucas once again backed up Garrett Reynolds at right tackle, playing in the second quarter and again in the second half. Both he and Reynolds were soundly beaten by Green Bay defensive end Julius Peppers, who had a sack of Stafford and was generally disruptive. Lucas actually saw much more time than he did against the Panthers, when he played 17 snaps. The rookie had 40 snaps Sunday -- 53 percent -- compared to 35 for Reynolds.

Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): Couplin only played special teams Sunday, getting in on 13 snaps. He did not record a statistic.

CB Mohammed Seisay (undrafted, Nebraska): Seisay was called up Saturday and played Sunday in his NFL debut. He played 10 snaps in relief of Don Carey and Danny Gorrer at slot cornerback and was initiated into the NFL. He was credited with two tackles, including a tackle for loss. If he sticks on the roster and doesn’t get bumped back to the practice squad, he could see more playing time as the season goes on.

Rookie Report: Week 2 vs. Carolina

September, 15, 2014
9/15/14
12:05
PM ET
Each week, we'll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games.

The Lions are losing their rookies somewhat quickly this season -- at least for the short term. This isn't a knock on Martin Mayhew's drafting ability, because he couldn't have predicted some of what's happened, but this rookie class is not going to have the immediate impact of last season's group.

That said, there were some standout performances and some encouraging -- and discouraging -- signs.

Here's how the rookies fared Sunday:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Ebron played 26 snaps against Carolina (up six snaps and six percent from the opener) and was on par with Joseph Fauria when it came to snaps. He was also targeted much more by Matthew Stafford as the quarterback looked at him five times. Ebron caught three of those for 38 yards, although he also had one drop.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He's on injured reserve/designated to return. He won't be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): Swanson again didn't play on offense, only special teams. He played on nine special teams snaps, including kick return.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive against Carolina.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): The rookie was elevated to the team's starting slot cornerback last week after Bill Bentley was knocked out for the season with an ACL injury. Now, he might be out for the season as well. Lawson dislocated his left foot on Sunday and was in surgery before the game concluded. He played 12 defensive snaps and eight special teams snaps prior to the injury, which came on a punt return. His season could be over.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): After seeing three snaps in the opener, Reid had six defensive snaps -- he didn't do much in them and they came late -- and one special teams snap. It is somewhat interesting Reid doesn't play more on special teams, especially in punt field goal block because of his success there at Princeton.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the physically unable to perform list for now. Won't play until midseason more than likely. Even then will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Not a good outing for Freese. He missed both of his 49-yard field goal attempts and after the game, Lions coach Jim Caldwell didn't rule out searching for other options at kicker. He's 2 of 5 this season on field goals after a preseason where he had some consistency issues. His spot is a position to watch in the next few days.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Lucas remains the team's fourth tackle but was activated Sunday and saw his first action, playing 17 snaps (24 percent). He came in mostly in the second half in relief of Garrett Reynolds, who earned the start. Pro Football Focus had Lucas with 11 snaps (and that seems more accurate) and rated him with a .2 overall rating.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): Couplin was active for the second straight game and played two defensive snaps. He was also in on 14 special teams plays. He failed to record a defensive statistic.
Each week, we'll take a look at how the Detroit Lions' rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the morning after a game.

Maybe this is a good sign for Detroit, but the Lions didn't need as much production from their rookie class as they did a season ago, when they found immediate starters in Ezekiel Ansah, Larry Warford and a bunch of early contributors.

Detroit's season-opening 35-14 win against the Giants showed the Lions have some rookies that will contribute early, but this could be a veteran-laced team at least early on.

Here's how the rookies looked on Monday night:

TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): Ebron played 20 snaps (30 percent) and was clearly the third tight end used by the team behind Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria. Ebron didn't see a ton of targets, either. Matthew Stafford looked his way twice and Ebron didn't haul in either catch -- although he didn't drop either one. Figure he'll end up getting more snaps as the season goes on.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He's on injured reserve/designated to return. He won't be doing anything for at least the first half of the season.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): The only active offensive lineman who didn't see an offensive snap, but that's how the Lions want it this season because it means the interior line is healthy. He had nine special teams snaps, including some as a blocker on kick return. He's going to play special teams barring injury all year.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): Webster was inactive for the Lions on Monday night.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): Lawson's development came real fast against the Giants. Lawson was thrown into the nickel role almost immediately after Bill Bentley left with a knee injury and he played 49 defensive snaps against the Giants along with 17 special teams snaps. He appeared to fare well, too, considering he was facing Victor Cruz most of the night. Lawson had one tackle and Pro Football Focus has Lawson targeted four times, allowing three receptions. Not great, but not terrible either, considering he was going to play only special teams entering the game.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid played three snaps and registered a quarterback hit. He's going to be a rotational guy at best behind Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and C.J. Mosley but the hope for the Lions is he'll eventually be able to play a few more snaps per game. Somewhat weird to me is he played no special teams snaps. That was one of the things he did best at Princeton.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the physically unable to perform list for now. Won't play until midseason more than likely. Even then will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): Freese made two field goals (27, 28 yards) and missed a field goal badly wide left from 43 yards out. Decent first outing for him, especially since he rebounded from the first miss to make two relative chip shots.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): Lucas is the team's fourth tackle, but he was inactive against the Giants.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): The safety played 23 total snaps (16 special teams, seven defense) and in those defensive snaps, had two tackles. He won't be replacing starter James Ihedigbo any time soon, but this was a good first step for Couplin, who could one day make a run at being a big contributor for Detroit.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared the week before. This series will typically run the mornings after games. However, this is a pre-first game version, so we’ll take a look this week at expected roles for the first-year players both for Monday night against the Giants and the season in general.

[+] EnlargeEric Ebron
AP Photo/Carlos OsorioEric Ebron will have every opportunity to play a major role for the Lions offense.
TE Eric Ebron (first round, North Carolina): The Lions spent their No. 10 pick on him with the expectation he’d contribute immediately. They kept three tight ends on the roster for a similar reason. While he’ll still need some time to really work his way into the offense, the thought with Ebron is he’ll play immediately. He should play a lot, too, perhaps as early as Monday night against New York. This is a meaningful game for him, too, because he was born not too far from the old Giants Stadium.

LB Kyle Van Noy (second round, BYU): He’s on the injured reserve/designated to return list, so not much is going to be expected of him until the second half of the season. Even then, the core muscle injury and surgery probably will stunt most of his growth during his rookie season as he’ll be jumping into games at midseason while his peers are already comfortable in everything going on.

OL Travis Swanson (third round, Arkansas): He’ll play some on special teams, but the Lions aren’t counting on him for much else this season. If he has to play a lot, it means there’s an injury to center Dominic Raiola or guards Rob Sims and Larry Warford. If that’s the case, Detroit is going to have some issues considering the consistency and experience of those three.

DE Larry Webster (fourth round, Bloomsburg): This is interesting. Webster won’t be counted on for much early on and might not even be active. The skill set is there, though, for him to break out once he develops a bit more. He showed pass-rush abilities during the preseason but needs time to figure things out. By midseason, he could push for rotational time. If an injury forces him to play, he has the skills to get by immediately.

CB Nevin Lawson (fourth round, Utah State): He could end up active on game days for special teams and because the team has only five cornerbacks. He is very raw in coverage and should have little-to-no role on defense as a rookie. But he could end up playing a lot on teams when he is active.

DT Caraun Reid (fifth round, Princeton): Reid will likely be active Sundays as the fourth tackle in the rotation. He probably won’t see many snaps on game days as long as Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley and even Jason Jones are healthy and active, but he’ll work in some. Reid will have a special teams role and has a knack for blocking kicks, so expect him to be used there. By midseason, he could have more of a rotational presence.

WR TJ Jones (sixth round, Notre Dame): Is on the PUP list for now. Won’t play until midseason more than likely. Even then will be down the depth chart at receiver.

K Nate Freese (seventh round, Boston College): He is Detroit’s kicker and other than Ebron should have more of a role than any rookie. He was perfect on field goals during his senior year in college and while that seems unrealistic in the NFL, he’ll need to be a good kicker this season for the Lions to contend.

OL Cornelius Lucas (undrafted, Kansas State): The tackle will likely be active on game days, but the only way he’ll play is if there are a lot of offensive line injuries. His size is massive and he’ll end up on some special teams, but he’s still figuring out the position. Best-case scenario is he can learn for a year and compete for a starting spot in 2015.

S Jerome Couplin (undrafted, William & Mary): Another interesting situation here. He could end up seeing more time than other rookies if he ends up active. He has major special teams talent and should be capable enough if he were to have to play safety. Right now, the Lions safeties are a somewhat banged-up group, so that could happen sooner than later.

Rookie Report: Detroit Lions Week 11

November, 18, 2013
11/18/13
12:40
PM ET
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions’ rookies fared in the most recent game, along with trends and stats for the rest of the season.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Much like the rest of the Detroit Lions did on Sunday during a 37-27 loss to Pittsburgh, the rookies struggled as well.

While some -- particularly the offensive linemen Larry Warford and LaAdrian Waddle -- played well, others saw a minimal role.

As always, here’s a look at how the rookies fared Sunday.

DE Ziggy Ansah (first round, BYU): Ansah was inactive for the first time Sunday as he recovers from an ankle injury suffered against Dallas two weeks ago.

Ansah’s snap percentages after the opener, when he was recovering from injury:
Arizona -- 70 percent; Washington -- 62 percent; Chicago -- 68 percent; Green Bay -- 72 percent; Cleveland -- 75 percent; Cincinnati – 70 percent; Dallas -- 21 percent; at Chicago -- DNP/injured; Pittsburgh -- DNP/injured

CB Darius Slay (second round, Mississippi State): Slay’s role was greatly diminished Sunday as he played only five defensive snaps. He had a lot of special-teams snaps, though, with 21 special-teams plays. He had one tackle while on defense.

RG Larry Warford (third round, Kentucky): Warford played every snap for the 10th straight game and had at least one impressive downfield block in the second quarter. As a line, the Lions struggled to keep Matthew Stafford clean -- he was sacked twice and hit five times, and Detroit only rushed for 107 yards.

DE Devin Taylor (fourth round, South Carolina): Taylor made his second start Sunday in place of Ansah and picked up 70 percent of the defensive snaps (54 actual snaps). He was not very productive in those snaps as he failed to record a tackle or a quarterback hit. A tough step down for him Sunday.

P Sam Martin (fifth round, Appalachian State): An average day for Martin punting -- he had a gross of 50.7 yards on his three punts with a net of 45 yards. He put none inside the 20-yard line but also had no touchbacks. Five of his six kickoffs went for touchbacks. His most noticeable play was his fake field goal run that he fumbled in the fourth quarter, still short of the first-down marker.

RB Theo Riddick (sixth round, Notre Dame): Riddick played four snaps offensively for Detroit, including some right at the end of the game in favor of a healthy Reggie Bush. He was targeted once but did not record any offensive, defensive or special-teams statistics otherwise.

TE Joseph Fauria (undrafted, UCLA): Fauria appears to have found a consistent level of snaps in the past few weeks. He played 20 snaps Sunday (27 percent) and was targeted twice -- including once in the end zone, although he didn’t make that catch. He had one catch for 14 yards and is playing more of the full field, but isn’t seeing quite the production he did early in the year.

A brief look at Fauria’s tracking:
Week 1 -- three targets, three catches, one touchdown, 14 percent of snaps (11 plays).
Week 2 -- no targets, no catches, 10 percent of snaps (six plays).
Week 3 -- three targets, one catch, one touchdown, 18 percent of snaps (12 plays).
Week 4 -- no targets, no catches, 20 percent of snaps (13 plays)
Week 5 -- no targets, no catches, 13 percent of snaps (9 plays)
Week 6 -- three targets, three catches, three touchdowns, 31 percent of snaps (23 plays)
Week 7 – four targets, one catch, 40 percent of snaps (31 plays)
Week 8 -- no targets, no catches, 19 percent of snaps (15 plays)
Week 10 -- two targets, one catch, 23 percent of snaps (14 plays)
Week 11 -- two targets, one catch, 27 percent of snaps (20 plays)

OT LaAdrian Waddle (undrafted, Texas Tech): Waddle made his third straight start Sunday and played every snap -- clearly overcoming the issues he had with his shoes earlier this season (they kept falling off). He and Warford seemed to handle things well on the right side of the line. Waddle -- and this is not a good thing for an offensive lineman -- also had a tackle.
Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Detroit Lions rookies fared in the prior week’s game along with their overall stats and trends for the season.

Three weeks into the Detroit Lions’ season and some trends are starting to emerge among the team’s rookies.

Ziggy Ansah is continuing to trend upward, seeing more playing time and becoming a very productive member of a talented Lions defensive line. Joseph Fauria is making plays on offense with two touchdown receptions. And Larry Warford continues to make consistent plays on the offensive line.

It wouldn't be surprising, actually, to see both Ansah and Warford on the next rookie rankings by Mel Kiper.

Darius Slay has struggled, and was demoted against Washington to a special teams role. And Devin Taylor was inactive for the second time in three games.

Here’s a breakdown of how all the rookies have done this season, including Sunday:

Ansah
DE Ziggy Ansah (first round, BYU): Ansah continues to improve by the week. He had seven tackles -- the most of any Detroit defensive lineman -- and also sacked Robert Griffin III twice. He also forced a fumble. He pushed his season quarterback hit total to five as well. The percentage of snaps Ansah played dipped slightly Sunday against Washington as he took 62 percent of the Lions’ snaps at defensive end (48 of 77), down from 70 percent last week against Arizona. His number of snaps, though, remained somewhat consistent as he took 50 snaps against the Cardinals. But his role could expand even further with veteran end Jason Jones being out for the season.

CB Darius Slay (second round, Mississippi State): Not the trajectory the rookie has wanted. He was replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Rashean Mathis and didn’t play a single defensive snap. That’s down from 56 percent of snaps in the opener and 39 percent of the snaps against Arizona. His only action came on special teams, where he played 17 snaps. He’ll likely get a defensive shot again -- he has too much natural skill not to -- but for now he’ll have to work his way back into a rotation.

RG Larry Warford (third round, Kentucky): Another week, another good game for Warford. He played every snap for the third straight game and was part of an offensive line that allowed just one sack of Matthew Stafford. Statistically, there were some issues as Stafford was hit 10 times Sunday. Warford remains Detroit’s best offensive rookie.

DE Devin Taylor (fourth round, South Carolina): Taylor was inactive for the second time in three games Sunday. He may get a shot, though, with the season-ending injury to defensive end Jason Jones.

P Sam Martin (fifth round, Appalachian State): Not a bad performance by Martin. He punted six times for a gross average of 52.5 yards and a net average of 40.7 yards. He didn’t land any inside the 20-yard-line but had three touchbacks. At least one of those, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz indicated after the game, was by design. His net yards per punt dropped from last week against Arizona (50.2 yards per punt) but he had another good day for the most part. He did send one kick out of bounds, though.

RB Theo Riddick (sixth round, Notre Dame): With Reggie Bush out, Riddick saw his first true offensive action. He was targeted twice by Stafford, catching his first career pass for eight yards. He also rushed twice for negative-2 yards. He played in a career-high 15 offensive snaps and also saw action on 14 special teams snaps. Considering Bush is likely to return Sunday against Chicago, Riddick’s role for now might return to almost exclusively special teams. But he is clearly the third back behind Bush and and Joique Bell.

TE Joseph Fauria (undrafted, UCLA): The No. 3 tight end only caught one pass Sunday against Washington -- but it was a touchdown. And then he celebrated by unveiling a quick Justin Timberlake-NSync inspired touchdown celebration dance. He now has touchdowns in two of his first three career games. He played in a career-high 18 percent of Detroit’s offensive snaps (12 plays) and also played on eight special teams plays. He was targeted three times, the high among Detroit tight ends. This comes a week after he was not targeted once against Arizona.

A brief look at Fauria’s tracking:
  • Week 1 -- three targets, three catches, one touchdown, 14 percent of snaps (11 plays).
  • Week 2 -- no targets, no catches, 10 percent of snaps (six plays).
  • Week 3 -- three targets, one catch, one touchdown, 18 percent of snaps (12 plays).
OT LaAdrian Waddle (undrafted, Texas Tech): Waddle saw his first career action Sunday, playing on five special teams snaps.

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