With the preseason almost over, here’s a look at a few members of the rookie class that should be a lot of fun to watch in the coming 2022 regular season.

Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Detroit Lions

The No. 2 overall pick has quickly proven to be everything his hometown Lions wanted Hutchinson to be. Hutchinson ascended to first-team reps immediately and keeps building upon everything he showed at Michigan.

The high-floor categorization Hutchinson almost universally earned from draftniks is obvious already. Hutchinson is going to be a good one right away. He has the strength, the length, the football IQ and the technical prowess to step right in and make an impact in Detroit’s retooled 4-2-5 defense. Hutchinson typically plays the strongside DE spot, but the Lions move him inside judiciously and he’s proven way too much to handle for blockers when he attacks the “B” gap.

We’re starting to see more personality from Hutchinson, both in preseason games and on Hard Knocks with the Lions being this year’s featured team. Detroit hasn’t had a true defensive catalyst since Ndamukong Suh’s All-Pro heyday, someone who offenses have to worry about on every snap. Hutchinson is well on his way to being that guy.

George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Back after the 2020 college season ended, Pickens was a fixture in the top 10 overall in the rash of too-early mock drafts for 2022. But an injury wiped out nearly all of the wideout’s 2021 season at Georgia and he fell off the scouting radar a bit.

If training camp and preseason are any judge, those out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitudes on Pickens are going to haunt some draft analysts. Pickens has drawn raves from everyone visiting Steelers camp or watching them in the preseason. His blend of physicality and long speed has been a major problem for defenses all summer. Beyond that, Pickens has a je ne sais quois to his game. It’s almost artful to see him set up a move off the route stem, or make a subtle stutter to let a would-be tackler go flying by. No matter if it’s Mitch Trubisky or fellow rookie Kenny Pickett throwing him passes, Pickens makes the Pittsburgh passing attack a lot more formidable instantly.

Jalen Pitre, S, Houston Texans

Houston set out to overhaul their perennially in-flux secondary with some set of permanence in the 2022 NFL draft. No. 3 overall pick Derek Stingley Jr. is off to a fine start at outside CB, looking both healthy and motivated for the first time since 2019. But it’s Houston’s next pick that has me really excited.

And I’m not the only one feeling the Jalen Pitre vibes. Witness a text shortly after Houston’s preseason matchup with the 49ers from a longtime Texans reporter:

“They got their new Honey Badger.”

Comparing the second-round safety from Baylor to Tyrann Mathieu is a little ambitious, but Pitre does a lot of the same things as the one-time Texan. Coach Lovie Smith already trusts Pitre enough to line him up at free safety, slot corner and de facto LB in different packages. His tackling really stands out: hit, wrap, drop, rinse, repeat. The coverage instincts and quickness in reacting to the action are ready for NFL testing right away, too. Pitre is my sleeper pick for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Samuel Womack, CB, San Francisco 49ers

Fifth-round picks from Toledo are understandably under the collective radar entering a training camp. It took about three practices in 49ers camp before nobody needed the tape on the front of the helmet to know Womack. He ascended nearly that quick up the San Francisco depth chart, pushing veteran Darqueze Denard off the roster and seizing the starting slot CB gig.

His playmaking panache has been evident in the preseason. Womack picked off Packers QB Jordan Love twice in their matchup, one of them a contested catch where he just wanted the ball more than Green Bay WR Romeo Doubs. In their next game, Womack was in perfect downfield coverage position and deflected a ball into the air for a teammate to pick off.

I won’t lie: I saw Womack play in person at Toledo and didn’t see this coming. He’s always had the ball skills and the fast feet, but his lack of size (he’s 5-9) and occasional awareness issues were troublesome to my scouting eyes. Now I’m blinded by his sky-high potential as an instant-impact defender in San Francisco.

Abraham Lucas, RT, Seattle Seahawks

There likely won’t be much to enjoy this season for Seahawks fans in the first year with Russell Wilson cooking in a different uniform. But their offensive line is quietly looking solid, and the third-round rookie from Washington State is a reason why.

Lucas has excelled in camp and preseason, unofficially winning the starting gig after a couple of strong performances. He’s got great length but Lucas also understands how to play shorter when needed; his ability to generate power in his long arms when they’re not able to be fully extended is really impressive. Lucas is quickly transitioning from the Cougars’ Air Raid deep sets on the outside and proving he can move bodies in the run game. Right tackle might not be sexy to everyone, but a good one can pop off the screen and make it easier for the skill position players to thrive. Look for Lucas to be that guy for Seattle very soon.