UH’s Tavai drafted by Lions in second round
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jahlani Tavai is going from Rainbow Warrior green to Honolulu blue.
The University of Hawaii linebacker was selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday.
Tavai was taken with the No. 43rd overall pick, tying him with linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (2003, St. Louis Rams) as the third-highest draft pick ever from UH, behind only wide receiver Ashley Lelie (19th overall, Denver Broncos, 2002) and defensive end Travis LaBoy (42nd, Tennessee Titans, 2004). He is also the first Rainbow Warrior to be drafted since fullback Joey Iosefa was a seventh-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound inside linebacker from Inglewood, Calif., racked up 391 tackles in his career at UH, good for second-most in program history. He was a three-time all-Mountain West selection.
Tavai averaged 10.2 tackles a game, but a shoulder injury cut his 2018 season short, and he played in only eight games.
“Shoulder’s doing great,” Tavai said on a teleconference Friday night. “I’m just getting excited to be able to get into pads again.”
During Day 2 of the draft, the biggest news was a trade as the Arizona Cardinals shipped quarterback Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins.
Rosen, supplanted by overall No. 1 pick Kyler Murray, had a rocky rookie season. Last year’s 10th overall pick finished 33rd in the NFL in passing rating, throwing for 2,278 yards and 11 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, and the Cardinals finished last in points and yards while going 3-13.
Rosen will contend with well-traveled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed in March after the Dolphins traded Ryan Tannehill to Tennessee.
For Rosen, the Cardinals acquired from Miami a second-round choice — No. 62 overall — which they used to draft Massachusetts receiver Andy Isabella. Miami also gave the Cardinals a fifth-round pick in 2020.