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Lions notes: Da’Shawn Hand’s pass-rush grade bested Aaron Donald’s rookie year

The Lions’ DT had a better rookie year than you probably think.

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions fourth-round pick Da’Shawn Hand didn’t rock the league in his rookie year. With just 27 tackles, 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles, Hand didn’t really move the needle in terms of national attention.

However, by non-traditional statistics, Hand was a beast. In just a rotational role with the team, Hand produced 25 quarterback pressure and 18 defensive stops. As a result, his Pro Football Focus grade was an outstanding 87.3, much higher than any other rookie interior defender, and good for 13th among all defensive tackles.

But it was his pass rush that really stood out among the rest. With a 79.5 pass rush grade (fifth among all DTs), Hand made PFF history:

Now, no one here is claiming that Da’Shawn Hand is a better pass rusher than Aaron Donald or even that he had a better rookie year. Just look at Donald’s stats back in 2014: 47 tackles, 9.0 sacks, two forced fumbles. Donald was able to produce consistent pressure his rookie season, and did it as a starter.

But this is still obviously a very promising start for the Lions’ young defensive tackle. As his role only increases, let’s hope Hand can get even a fraction of the production Donald has had since his rookie year.

  • Sandman created a highlight reel from Kerryon Johnson’s rookie season. You may want to be alone when you watch this:

  • Hall of Famer Rod Woodson believes Darius Slay is a top-five cornerback in the NFL right now. See what else the former Raiders defensive back had to say about Slay here.

  • Assuming the Lions don’t get Golden Tate back, they’re going to have to replace a lot of production from their 2018 offensive skill players:

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