The Detroit Lions were pretty darn happy with their selection of Michigan edge defender Aidan Hutchinson, as evidenced by how quickly they ran up the card on draft night. However, we’re left to wonder what the Lions would have done had the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Hutchinson instead of Georgia edge Travon Walker.
For many weeks, it looked like that was the conundrum the Lions would find themselves in. Hutchinson was long considered the favorite as the first overall pick, leading Lions fans to debate whether Walker would be the Lions pick or Oregon edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Well, worry no longer.
According to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Lions were prepared to draft Walker in that scenario.
“Had the Jaguars taken Aidan Hutchinson with the first overall pick, I’m told that the Lions’ pick at 2 would have been Georgia edge Travon Walker,” Breer wrote on Friday. “No word on whether or not the card would’ve gone in as quick as it did on Hutchinson, though.”
It’s an interesting development, but perhaps not one that should be considered that surprising. The Lions proved with their 2022 NFL Draft class that they valued athleticism and versatility. Walker has that in spades—as does Detroit’s second-round pick Josh Paschal, who will likely serve in a similar role that Walker would have played had he been drafted.
This also begs the question of what the Lions truly thought of Thibodeaux. Detroit did a ton of research on the Oregon defender, which could indicate serious interest or serious concerns, depending on your outlook. For what it’s worth, Thibodeaux downplayed any potential culture fit issues, speaking highly of his meetings with Lions management. It’s certainly possible, instead, that Thibodeaux’s relatively undeveloped run defense sealed his fate.
Either way, Hutchinson is the guy in Detroit, and the Lions seem pretty happy about it.