Through two seasons, Aidan Hutchinson has been everything the Detroit Lions envisioned he'd be when they took him No. 2 overall in the 2022 draft. This season, he upped his sack total to 11.5, topped 100 quarterback pressures during the regular season (according to Pro Football Focus) and earned his first Pro Bowl nod.
During much of the regular season, Hutchinson was putting heat on opposing quarterbacks without the sacks to show for it. But that proverbial dam broke late, with five sacks over the last two regular season followed by three more in the playoffs. He had two sacks in the Wild Card Round win over the Los Angeles Rams while battling an illness.
The Lions need to find Hutchinson some edge rushing help this offseason. Going the number of games he did without a sack this season points to another possible growth step in Year 3, if only rooted in better consistency and less-focused blocking attention sheerly on him.
Aidan Hutchinson thinks he has 'levels to unlock'
Hutchinson reflected on the season with Dannie Rogers of Lions.com down at the Pro Bowl Games in Orlando.
"I think the whole year was a year of growth. I think there was definitely some adversity as a team, adversity individually. And, it caused me to just try to learn as fast as I can," Hutchinson said. "I really enjoy this process, though, and that's what it's all about. I feel like I took so many strides this year, and I'm just looking for, I think there's still so many levels to unlock. I never put limitations on myself or my ability or this team. So, the sky will always be the limit."
When talent and experience start to mesh, a player begins to realize his ceiling. Hutchinson improved from his rookie season to his second year, as was easy to expect, and more is lined up to be in store for Year 3 and beyond. Opposing offensive tackles, you have been officially warned.
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