Already named the best rookie interior defender by Pro Football Focus after the season, Lions defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand continued to rack up the accolades Tuesday. Hand was named to the Pro Football Writers of America 2018 All-Rookie Team.
Hand joins Denver’s Bradley Chubb, New Orleans’ Marcus Davenport and Daron Payne from the Washington Redskins as rookie defensive lineman to make the team.
Detroit’s fourth-round pick out of Alabama, Hand had a productive first season with 27 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in 13 games. His season ended prematurely due to a knee injury that isn’t expected to affect his offseason.
Hand’s true value is in his versatility. He can play inside and outside, and every technique in between. He seems to have the right mindset about improving his game.
“I’m going to get in shape as best as I can (this offseason) and be in the best shape of my life,” he said right after the season ended. “Be healthy, eat better and then be ready to play whatever.”
His approach to the game, and his willingness to learn, impressed his veteran teammates this season.
“He just takes coaching really well,” veteran Damon Harrison said of Hand. “He’s not a guy that thinks he has it all figured out. He’s trying to improve. He asks everybody questions, from me to Ricky (Jean Francois) and even John (Atkins). He’ll be a good player in this league for a long time.”