Aidan Hutchinson and the Detroit Lions look like a nice long-term fit, but the rookie defensive end is ready to show the Jacksonville Jaguars they made a mistake.
Coming off a big season at the University of Michigan, Aidan Hutchinson was a strong candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. As a local product, the Detroit Lions were certainly hoping he’d be available for them at No. 2 overall.
The Jacksonville Jaguars of course took Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker No. 1 overall, as fortune smiled on the Lions and they were able to draft Hutchinson. Walker was perceived to have more raw upside, and his stock went through the roof after he dominated the NFL Combine.
The Lions face the Jaguars on Sunday. The first two picks in this year’s draft obviously won’t line up against each other, but it will be an opportunity to see both on the same field and make an early comparison as their rookie seasons wind down.
Aidan Hutchinson ready to show the Jaguars they made a mistake
Hutchinson falling to second overall is nothing like Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown having every team pass on him multiple times and seeing 16 receivers be drafted before him. But the Lions’ rookie defensive end, via Justin Rogers of The Detroit News, is no less motivated by the Jaguars passing on him.
"It was weird, I thought I was going there for about three months and then about a week before the draft, something changed,” Hutchinson said. “I guess my arms were just not quite long enough, but that hit a week before the draft, so we’ll see if that extra couple inches was the difference.The Jags are obviously the one team that passed on me, so that will definitely be in the back of my head playing that game.”"
Walker had a splashy debut for the Jaguars, with a sack and an interception. But Hutchinson has more sacks (5.5, to 2.5 for Walker), more quarterback pressures (33, to 24) and more run stops (21, to 19) this season, as he leads rookies in the first two stats.
The scripts for the careers of Hutchinson and Walker won’t be fully written for awhile. But Hutchinson will have a bit of unique extra motivation on Sunday, facing the one team that passed on him in the draft.