Detroit Lions’ Larry Warford named NFL offensive rookie of the year by Pro Football Focus

It’s rare an offensive lineman, especially an interior one, gets rewarded for his play.

But Lions right guard Larry Warford was so good this year the website Pro Football Focus found him too hard to ignore.

PFF named Warford, a third-round pick out of Kentucky, its Offensive Rookie of the Year today, ahead of San Diego Chargers receiver Keenan Allen and Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy.

Warford has little chance of winning the NFL’s official Offensive Rookie of the Year award, which will be announced Feb. 1. But played every offensive snap for the Lions this year, didn’t allow a sack and finished the season with the highest grade (plus-22.8) ever given to a rookie guard by PFF since its rankings debuted in 2008.

“It’s not the flashiest of picks,” PFF wrote. “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.”

Warford said last month he planned to spend the early part of the off-season in Arizona training with offensive line guru LeCharles Bentley, who he worked out with while preparing for the draft last year.

The goal, Warford said, is to increase his flexibility and improve his body composition.

“It’s going to be so much easier,” Warford said. “I was really worried about, am I going to be good enough and am I going to be strong enough or whatever. I was really worried about that (last year). After testing the waters and testing my mettle against people, I feel comfortable going into this off-season that I know what I need to focus on this time, for sure.”

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