Larry Warford was a three-year starter at UK before become the Detroit Lions’ third-round pick in 2012. (Britney Howard, UK Athletics)
Offensive linemen, even in the NFL, are normally relatively anonymous. Larry Warford, however, is making quite a name for himself one season into his professional career with the Detroit Lions.Last week, Mel Kiper named him one of the top offensive rookies in the league. On Tuesday, Pro Football Focus disagreed. The popular NFL analysis website said he was the best.PFF named the former UK star its Offensive Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, with Warford beating out Keenan Allen of the San Diego Chargers and Eddie Lacy of the Green Bay Packers. Here’s what Khaled Elsayed had to say about Warford:
I’ll confess to not watching much college football in years gone, but out of interest last year I started studying some defensive players. One of those was Sheldon Richardson and it was impressive to watch the Missouri defensive linemen. Except in one game where one particular right guard continually got the better of him. That man would end up the Lions third round pick, a second team All-Pro selection for us and our Offensive Rookie of the Year.It’s not the flashiest of picks. He didn’t rumble into the end zone for touchdowns or make leaps at the goal lines to pick up scores. He doesn’t play for a playoff team and you don’t see him getting a lot of talk in review programs or during the actual game. Yet what Warford has done is look like an NFL player since Day 1. Of every guard in the league who we graded on every single play, Warford would finish fourth out of all of them. Positives in every area with no sacks allowed in pass protection and just four penalties called on him all year. While others experienced peaks and valleys, Warford was a model of consistency, grading out positively in all but three games.
On the subject of PFF’s grades, Warford had a rookie season for the history books. He posted a total grade for the year of plus-22.8, the highest of any guard graded by PFF … and by a wide margin. Mike Iupati — a 2012 All-Pro selection for the San Francisco 49ers — had the previous high grade of 14.8 in 2010.For more on Warford’s impressive honor, check out the complete story from Pro Football Focus.