Lions draft linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez in sixth round

Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez

The Lions added another piece to the defense by selected linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez in the sixth round (188th overall) on Saturday.

Rodriguez, who played at Oklahoma State, earned All-Big 12 honors in three straight seasons and made the first team in his final year. As the team captain was the Fiesta Bowl defensive MVP with 11 tackles, an interception, and two pass breakups in the win over Notre Dame.

Rodriguez, who is 5-foot-11 and 232 pounds, finished his career with the Cowboys by garnering All-Big 12 honors in three straight seasons, making the first team in his final year. He ranked seventh in the FBS with 76 solo tackles (129 total tackles, 15 for loss with three sacks) in 2021 and tied for 10th nationally with four forced fumbles in 14 starts. The team captain was also the Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP with 11 tackles, an interception, and two pass breakups in the win over Notre Dame. 

In 2020, he led his team with 82 tackles (including 57 solos, tying for seventh-most in the FBS), seven for loss with three sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 11 starts.

In high school, Rodriguez led Wagoner to three straight Oklahoma state titles at quarterback, while also being named the state Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and winning a state championship in wrestling. 

His NFL.com draft profile reads: “Rodriguez carries a compact, sawed-off frame that is muscular but stubby. His transition from read to flow is seamless, with some of the cleanest GPS to the football in this draft. He’s straight-line fast but lacks the looseness for sudden lateral bursts, which could limit his range as an NFL tackler. He can play on third downs but is very average in that department. Rodriguez has been a career gap-hog, finding and finishing runners who come his way.’’

Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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