Preseason rookie report: Quiet day for Lions rookies in loss to Pittsburgh

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In their last preseason outing as rookies, many of the first-year players of the Detroit Lions failed to make much of an impact on the field.

First-round pick Aidan Hutchinson got the start on defense and immediately made an impact. On Pittsburgh’s first offensive series, Hutchinson lined up as an interior defensive lineman and with the help of Charles Harris, was able to get a sack on Steelers’ quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez didn’t get the start for this game but did get put in during the first quarter. His biggest play of the first half was on special teams, where he prevented the Steelers’ punt returner from even gaining a yard, meeting him for a tackle the moment the ball was caught.

Demetrius Taylor also got in the game early and was able to team up with Bruce Hector to prevent an attempted run up the middle by Trubisky. He stayed in for most of the game and earned one of the biggest signs of respect any opposing team can give a defensive lineman: constant double teams at the line. Taylor unfortunately was a non-factor for the rest of the game.

Seventh-round pick Chase Lucas took the field late in the first half, relieving starting nickel cornerback AJ Parker. Lucas got the bulk of his playing time in the second half and had some positive moments, including one tackle for loss in the fourth quarter.

Kerby Joseph also appeared near the end of the first half and immediately was picked on by Trubisky and tight end Pat Freiermuth. He also took reps as a gunner on punts in the second half. Overall, his struggles in coverage looked even worse than last week. The third-rounder out of Illinois may need more time to develop than we had hoped.

Undrafted rookie receiver Kalil Pimpleton had quite the up-and-down day. He was targeted in the fourth quarter but dropped the low pass from quarterback Tim Boyle. Not long later, Blough was put in and connected with the rookie for a short gain.

Unfortunately, Pimpleton dropped a would-be touchdown on a fourth-down attempt not long after but did follow up with a big catch-and-run on the next offensive series. The rookie’s day ended on a low note as he dropped a ball on an end-of-game two-point conversion attempt.

Offensive lineman Obinna Eze sat out most of the game but was put in at left tackle for Dan Skipper with about five minutes left to go. He bent but didn’t break as he struggled to contain Pittsburgh’s edge defenders but didn’t appear to give up any pressures on Blough.

Tight ends James Mitchell and Derrick Deese were used sparingly on offense in the second half and were not targeted once. When they did take the field, it was often together in double tight end sets where their primary assignment was blocking.

James Houston appeared in the game as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker but failed to make his presence known in any way. Undrafted rookie cornerback Cedric Boswell did not play, and neither did offensive lineman Kevin Jarvis.

First-round pick Jameson Williams is inactive on the NFI list while Josh Paschal is on PUP. Running back Greg Bell is out for the season on injured reserve.

Story originally appeared on Lions Wire