How many sacks will Aidan Hutchinson get as a rookie?
Aidan Hutchinson is among the early favorites for Defensive Rookie of the Year, but how many sacks will he actually get in 2022?
The Detroit Lions wasted no time to make Aidan Hutchinson the second overall pick in this year’s draft, much to the chagrin of the NFL apparently. But head coach Dan Campbell said they weren’t going to do a “dog-and-pony show” in the league’s effort to creat draft drama.
Hutchinson was the best player in the 2022 draft for many analysts. He set Michigan’s single-season school record for sacks last year with 14, highlighted by three sacks and a general domination of Ohio State’s offensive line. Some may see him as a one-year wonder, with injuries in 2020 and no more than 3.5 sacks in any of his first three college seasons, but that’s not been mentioned a lot.
The Lions also added Josh Paschal to their defensive line in the draft. Defensive line coach Todd Wash has talked about a change in mentality and scheme for his unit. Including how Hutchinson will be deployed.
"We had Hutchinson extremely high in the draft process,” Wash said. “We feel he was the most ready to play. We’re going to put him at the rush position in our base. Then he can play either defensive end in the sub package."
How many sacks will Aidan Hutchinson have as a rookie?
Hutchinson is easy to place among the betting favorites to win 2022 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Which begs the question–how many sacks might he get as a rookie? NFL reporter Matt Lombardo took a stab at a projection during an appearance with Football Outsiders.
The Lions’ improved defensive line depth will make it hard to pay special attention to anyone. And the offensive lines in the NFC North are not exactly elite, as Lombardo noted based on last year’s Pro Football Focus rankings. If anything, the Bears’ offensive line might have gotten worse this offseason. The Packers and Vikings will be relying on better health and/or internal improvement to see markedly better results protecting their quarterbacks.
Double-digit sacks as a rookie is probably to some degree an expectation for Hutchinson, the team and certainly Lions’ fans. But it is very well possible, with Detroit’s shift in defensive scheme and at least six games against offensive lines who aren’t lined up to offer a lot of resistance.