Aidan Hutchinson made a huge impact on the Detroit Lions as a rookie. But it's possible (likely?) he was only scratching the surface of what he can do.
Hutchinson finished the 2022 season with 52 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hits and three interceptions, which helped him claim the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year award. Heading into year two, the pass rusher is looking and feeling even more comfortable, which could be a scary thought for the opposition.
Speaking to Dannie Rogers of Lions.com on NFL Network during "Back Together Weekend", Hutchinson was asked how he feels heading into the new season. As he explained, his experiences as a rookie and an offseason of healing and learning have meant a great deal to him in his preparation for Year 2.
Aidan Hutchinson aiming to exceed his rookie season sack total
Though his rookie season was impressive in terms of getting after the quarterback, Hutchinson is far from complacent. He has suggested the game is slowing down for him, which is typical coming off a rookie season's learning curve with the experience gained.
"I hope I don't stay right on par obviously. You want to continue to build and I feel like my pass rush game, everything has leveled up from last year. Just having that offseason under my belt, I can feel it in this camp. Instinctually, my body, everything just feels like where it needs to be. I got high hopes for myself this year. The plan is to get over (9.5 sacks)."- Aidan Hutchinson
The Lions collected 39 sacks as a team last season, with a big chunk of those coming from rookies. Getting more from Hutchinson, as others command more attention (James Houston) or are healthy (Romeo Okwara, Charles Harris), feels like an attainable goal this season. And double-digit sacks is his stated goal.