3. DE Aidan Hutchinson
Fortune smiled on the Lions when the Jacksonville Jaguars took Travon Walker No. 1 overall back in April. Hutchinson is a Michigan native, a University of Michigan alum and he was excited to be a Lion. He fell into their laps at No. 2, and they wasted no time turning in the card with his name on it–much to the chagrin of the league.
Not that Dan Campbell cared to fuel the league’s thirst for draft drama.
"I don’t think we overthought it. Brad said, ‘Turn it in, let’s go,’” Campbell said. “Because we knew we were good, ‘Let’s go, he’s our guy.’ We weren’t going to wait around, and we’re not going to do the whole dog-and-pony show. We got our guy and we turned the card in. …”"
Hutchinson has had an up-and down first 10 games of his rookie season, with three of his 5.5 sacks in one game. But the signs of growth have been easy to see, with two interceptions over the last three games and an NFC Defensive Player of the Week award now on his resume for his performance in Week 11 against the Giants. Hutchinson is leading all rookies in sacks and quarterback pressures (31).
Hutchinson will be a tone-setter as a young Lions’ defense grows together. So far so good, and Lions’ fans should be grateful he’s around.