Malcolm Rodriguez, the man around the Lions franchise affectionately referred to as “Rodrigo,” is one popular man around Detroit in part because of his stardom on Hard Knocks but largely because of what he’s showed on the field in the lead-up to his rookie season.
The second-most popular man, to be precise.
In the season finale of the HBO show that has followed the team throughout training camp, Rod Wood, the team’s President and CEO, revealed to viewers that Rodriguez’s jersey is the second-most requested — behind only No. 2 overall pick Aiden Hutchinson.
“We’ve created a monster,” Lions coach Dan Campbell quipped to his boss. “I like that a lot. To me it tells us who our fans are, and that they’re buying in to what we’re building . . . [Rodriguez] is coming on like a damn hurricane, man.”
Indeed he is. Rodriguez was a late-round flier taken by Detroit who has steadily risen throughout training camp. He beat out former first-round pick Jarrad Davis for a spot on the 53-man roster, and has played so well he has earned a spot on the two-deep. Even as a rookie, his performance since arriving has continued to turn heads.
“I had a coach who has been in this building for five years tell me he hasn’t seen a linebacker make that type of play since he’s been here,” linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard said during camp last month while reviewing film. “A coach who has been here five years said he’s not seen a stack linebacker make this type of play. That is f****** high linebacker play, man. I love it. I love it, 44.”