The Detroit Lions are struggling this season, and have seen a ton of changes for their defense. One player who has been on the outside looking in most of the year was Da’Shawn Hand.
In spite of looking like a good bet to be a player who turned things around this season and played a big role for the team, Hand has struggled to stay heathy again, and as a result, the Lions appear set to move on from the player.
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According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero on Tuesday, November 30, the Lions will be releasing Hand off injured reserve with an injury settlement. The move will mean that the defender will become a free agent and could be scooped up by another team for the stretch run of the 2021 season.
Hand moving on will mean Detroit will lose another defensive lineman, but the team has done nice work to develop players such as Levi Onwuzurike, Alim McNeill and Julian Okwara in 2021 up front. That in itself can account for the loss of Hand.
Hand’s Tenure Has Been Marred With Injury
Will Hand be able to produce anything for a new team? That will be a huge variable to watch considering how things have gone in Detroit. Hand’s rookie year in the league was productive with 3 sacks and 27 tackles, but he hasn’t come close to matching that production since.
Injuries have played a big role in marring what looked like a promising start. Hand has had seasons cut short by knee injuries, an elbow injury, ankle injuries and a groin injury. Consistency has not been a friend to Hand since he joined the league.
Given he was a pick of the previous staff, there was a question of whether Hand would crack Detroit’s roster in 2021. He managed to do that, but quickly found himself on injured reserve again. At this point, the team has developed other rookie players up front, perhaps making Hand expendable.
If a team picks up Hand, they will have to hope that he can rally and find some health that he never was able to achieve in Detroit.
Hand’s Stats & Highlights
The Lions got a solid player in the 2018 NFL draft when they picked up Hand out of Alabama in the third round, and quickly, Hand proved his worth to the team with some solid play up front.
Injury trouble started later in the season with a knee ailment that knocked Hand out of the last few games of 2018 on the field. He struggled to get healthy early on in 2019, and was not able to contribute much to Detroit’s defensive cause as a result. The same thing happened in 2020, which led to his frustration.
As a whole, Hand has put up decent numbers early in his NFL career which did show his potential. His rookie year featured 27 tackles and 3.0 sacks, but this season has been much worse considering health. Hand only managed to put up 6 total tackles this season. Obviously, it’s been a tough go of it thanks to injury most of all. Hand will be looking to shake that title in his next stop, wherever that might come.
The tape shows a player who can be very active for a line providing he is healthy:
There is no question Hand has the talent, but he hasn’t had the health thus far. That’s perhaps the biggest reason this move is playing out.