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Aidan Hutchinson named Defensive Rookie of the Year finalist

The Lions rookie defensive end is one of three candidates to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, the NFL revealed the three finalists for the Associated Press’ Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year. Unsurprisingly, Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was named amongst the three finalists for the defensive award, along with Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner and Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen.

Hutchinson, the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, finished his season leading all rookies in sacks (9.5), was sixth among first-year players in interceptions (three), and second in tackles for loss (nine).

He also finished with more pressures than another other rookie (53) and had the highest PFF grade among all other rookie edges (80.7). In fact, over the last eight weeks of the season, Hutchinson’s 89.7 PFF grade ranked third among ALL edge defenders, trailing only Micah Parson and Myles Garrett.

While Hutchinson has definitely earned consideration for the award, Gardner remains the heavy favorite to win it. The Jets cornerback finished with a league-leading 20 pass breakups and was the highest-graded PFF cornerback in the entire league (not just rookies).

The winner of the award will be revealed on Thursday, February 9 at the NFL Honors show. The event will be nationally televised on NBC starting at 9 p.m. ET.