Detroit Lions: Young defender makes 2018 PFWA All-Rookie Team

Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions found a real steal in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, landing a defender who was recently elected to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

Following a disappointing 9-7 season, one of the biggest team needs for the Detroit Lions heading into 2018 was believed to be along their defensive line. Especially considering the fact the Lions would lose All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles via free agency in the offseason.

Throw in the signing of the New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as the Lions’ new head coach and defensive line appeared to be a priority entering the 2018 NFL Draft for Detroit.

Yet, through the first two days of the draft, Detroit ignored their defensive line completely. The Lions used their first two selections on the offensive side of the ball picking up Arkansas center Frank Ragnow and Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson. In fact, the Lions traded away their 2018 fourth-round pick in order to trade up in the second to select Johnson.

In the third round, Detroit drafted a defensive back in safety Tracy Walker out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Entering the third and final day of the draft, the Lions still hadn’t addressed one of their biggest needs and did not possess a fourth-round selection.

But Detroit opted to jump back into the fourth round, trading away a 2019 third round pick to the Patriots in order to select Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand 114th overall.

The 23-year old made an instant impact on the Lions’ front seven and was arguably the best Detroit defender at times this season. Although Hand ended his first year recording just  27 tackles and 3.0 sacks, his impact on the team went far beyond the numbers.

So much so that the Pro Football Writers of America named Hand to their 2018 All-Rookie Team earlier this week. Here’s a list of all the rookies who made PFWA’s All-Rookie Team for this past season.


QB – Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
RB – Saquon Barkley, New York Giants; Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos
WR – Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons; DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers
TE – Chris Herndon, New York Jets
C – Billy Price, Cincinnati Bengals
G – Will Hernandez, New York Giants; Quenton Nelson, Indianapolis Colts
T – Mike McGlinchey, San Francisco 49ers; Braden Smith, Indianapolis Colts


DL – Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos; Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints; Da’Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions; Daron Payne, Washington Redskins
LB – Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts; Roquan Smith, Chicago Bears; Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas Cowboys
CB – Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers, Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns
S – Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals; Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers

Special Teams

PK – Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins
P – Michael Dickson, Seattle Seahawks
KR – Tremon Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
PR – Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
ST – Zeke Turner, Arizona Cardinals

Next. Lions 2019 NFL Draft: 3 controversial first round picks. dark

Despite not electing to address their defensive line needs until Day Three of the draft, the Detroit Lions were able to find a hidden gem in Da’Shawn Hand. And combined with the midseason trade for defensive tackle Damon Harrison and the improved play of now veteran lineman A’Shawn Robinson, the Lions’ defensive line is stocked with talent heading into 2019.