The Detroit Lions selected former University of Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai in the second round of the NFL Draft today.
Tavai was the 43rd pick overall.
Tavai is the first Rainbow Warrior to be drafted since the New England Patriots picked running back Joey Iosefa in 2015. Tavai will be reunited with former UH offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi, who is on the Lions’ roster.
Tavai, who is from Inglewood, Calif., had 82 tackles in an injury-shortened senior season in 2018. But he impressed scouts and personnel directors during meetings at the NFL Scouting Combine, UH’s pro day, and special workout. He also was invited for private workouts by four NFL teams, including the Lions.
Tavai had been told he was viewed as a second-day selection, but most projections had him going in the third round, at best.
But Tavai, who can play all the linebacker positions as well as rush end, proved to be too valuable for the Lions to allow to go past the second round.