This young defender exceeded all expectations during his rookie season for the Detroit Lions. Will he make the Pro Bowl leap in Year Two?
The Detroit Lions found themselves without a fourth-round selection on Day Three of the 2018 NFL Draft after trading that pick away in order to snatch up Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson the day before.
But the Lions desperately wanted to get back into the fourth round when they saw that Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, who was touted as a possible second-round selection, was still on the board. Detroit sent their 2019 third rounder to the New England Patriots in order draft Hand with the 114th overall pick.
During his rookie season, Hand went about the business of proving he was one of the biggest steals in last year’s entire draft class. Posting 27 total tackles and 3.0 sacks, Pro Football Focus ranked the 23-year old as the Lions’ fifth-best defender in 2019, with an overall grade of 87.3 and high marks in run defense (80.7), pass rushing (79.5) and tackling (77.4).
Prior to the Lions’ Week Eight matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit traded for All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison. And many analysts point to his presence as the main reason for the defensive turnaround in Motown in the second half of the season. The 30-year old veteran recently took to Twitter to share his first-hand knowledge of how talented Hand really is.
That’s an amazing endorsement for a fourth-round pick who is only entering his second season in Detroit. The combination of Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Da’Shawn Hand figure to be a terrific duo for the Lions in 2019. Under the tutelage of a top-notch defender like Harrison, this former draft gem could potentially make the Pro Bowl leap in Year Two.
For more grades, advanced statistics and more at Pro Football Focus, subscribe to PFF’s EDGE or ELITE subscriptions at ProFootballFocus.com.