5. Fortune smiled big on the Lions in the 2022 NFL Draft
Sitting with the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft, the Detroit Lions were at the mercy of what the Jacksonville Jaguars did at No. 1 overall. The idea of Aidan Hutchinson, a Michigan native and University of Michigan alum, being there with the second pick was enticing but not entirely realistic.
As we know, the Jaguars went with the upside pick of Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker. The league office was not thrilled when the Lions turned in their card with Hutchinson's name on it so quickly, not that they cared-as reflected by what Dan Campbell said.
"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 been everything the Lions could've hoped he'd be, leading rookies in sacks and pressures last season on his way to finishing runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He's off to a great start this year, leading the NFL with 28 pressures (per Pro Football Focus, albeit having played four games now). The proverbial sack dam has broken for the team and himself the last two games, with 12 as a team and Hutchinson tallying 3.5 of them over that span.
Meanwhile, Walker carries the perception of upside with little in the way of results to this point.
The Lions' draft history is littered with misses and "could haves." In 2022, fortune smiled when Hutchinson fell into their laps.