There it is. After months and months of wondering what the Detroit Lions would do, they went out and got their guy when they picked Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick.
This is a pick that should make Lions fans pretty happy. He’s a hometown guy and is widely considered to be the best player in the NFL Draft. It seemed for a while that the Jacksonville Jaguars would select Hutchinson with the first pick, but they chose to go with Georgia’s Travon Walker instead, and the Lions took advantage of that decision when they chose to keep Hutchinson in Michigan.
Lions fans know a lot about Hutchinson already since he’s a Michigan man and they’ve watched him play in every game including the loss to Michigan State. But we want to know even more. So we reached out to our friend, and Michigan football expert, Anthony Broome of The Wolverine for all the answers. Here’s what he had to say:
Why do you think the Jags passed on Hutchinson?
“I think it ultimately came down to Trent Baalke’s draft history. He’s done this before, taking traits-based pass rushers over guys that might be a little safer or well-rounded. It worked out quite well for him in San Francisco. It sounded like ownership wanted Hutchinson, but they ultimately deferred their GM. I’m not sure it has much to do with Hutchinson’s game as much as it did them just liking Walker more.”
Hutchinson appears to have a great attitude. Can you speak on that?
“Hutchinson has the best attitude of any Michigan player I’ve ever covered. It’s super cliche to say, but it’s the truth. That man internalized all of the critics last off-season and was the driving force behind a culture change and Big Ten championship season. You want your pick at No. 2 to check a lot of boxes, but perhaps none moreso than being a guy who can set a culture for your organization. He is an insanely good fit for the Lions in that regard. They need hellraisers and tone-setters. He is one.”
There was some concern after his game against Georgia, was this just one bad night?
“It was not his best showing, but Georgia deserves credit for that. The way you slow down an elite pass rush is to get the ball out quickly and the Bulldogs’ game plan was tremendous. I’ll also say it was an outlier. His best games this season were the biggest ones on Michigan’s schedule. I wouldn’t put a ton of stock into the Georgia game.”
How big of impact can Hutchinson make right away for the Lions?
“You guys can probably speak to that more than I can, but he’s a day-one starter as far as I’m concerned. And there aren’t any concern about his three-down ability, either. He’ll play however many snaps the staff lets him and they’ll have to drag him off the field if it comes to that. Hutch will be in the mix for Defensive Rookie of the Year.”
Did the Lions make the right pick?
“They did make the right pick. Thibodeaux would’ve been the bigger swing, but Hutchinson is a safe bet. I’ve seen a ton of knocks on him saying that he might only be a 12-14 sack per year guy in the league. Why is that something to scoff at all the sudden? He checks every single box unless you put a ton of stock into his length. The Lions didn’t, and it stands to reason the others behind them wouldn’t have if he slid to them. They got it right and they found the heartbeat of their defense. He’s a perfect fit, and I suspect a team captain in short order.”