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Lions trade down, draft LB Malcolm Rodriguez

After addressing needs along their defensive line and in their secondary at safety, Lions general manager Brad Holmes filled Detroit's need for more talent and depth at linebacker with the selection of Oklahoma State LB Malcolm Rodriguez in the sixth round (pick 188) of Saturday's NFL Draft.

A dual-threat quarterback and linebacker in high school, leading his team to three state championships, Rodriguez became a three-year starter at linebacker and two-year team captain at Oklahoma State, finishing fifth in school history with 409 career tackles. He reached triple-digit tackles in 2019 and 2021, and also notched 16.5 tackles for loss this past season with four forced fumbles and five passes defended.

A little bit undersized at 5-foot-11, 232 pounds, Rodriguez makes up for it with terrific speed (4.52 in the 40) and instincts. He played weakside linebacker for the Cowboys and was a core special teamer, which is where he could make his biggest impact early in his NFL career.

He forced 10 turnovers in his time at Oklahoma State, and didn't allow a single touchdown in his coverage area last season. He's also tough as nails, playing in 60 straight games in college.

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