Detroit Lions first-round pick Aidan Hutchinson has been named Defensive Rookie of the Month for December/January, the league announced on Thursday.
Since the start of December, Hutchinson tallied 4.0 sacks, 21 tackles, five tackles for loss, one interception and a fumble recovery. He capped off his season on Sunday night with two sacks of Aaron Rodgers, capturing the sack title for NFL rookies (9.5).
This marks the the second time this season that Hutchinson secured the honor; he also won Defensive Rookie of the Month back in November. According to the Lions PR Twitter account, he is the first Lions player ever to be named Rookie of the Month more than once in a season.
Earlier this week, Lions general manager Brad Holmes said Hutchinson’s productive rookie year did not surprise him.
“We knew Aidan,” Holmes said. “We pretty much knew what his skillset was and what his drive and determination, what his intangibles were. So, I don’t want to say like we knew that the statistics would be what they were, but we’re not really surprised that they ended up having success.”
Now that Hutchinson has be deemed the best defensive rookie for the last 2.5 months, one has to wonder if he’ll be seriously considered for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Only three Lions players have ever won that award (Ndamukong Suh, Al Baker, and Lem Barney).
Hutchinson has tough competition in Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner, though. Gardner leads all NFL cornerbacks (not just rookies) with 20 passes defended and a PFF grade of 88.5.
The winner of the Defensive Rookie of the Year award is announced during the NFL Honors show, which is scheduled for February 9.