NFL Hot Press: Some Jaguars Evaluators Prefer Hutchinson

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Combine Logo Some Jaguars Evaluators Prefer Hutchinson

Updated March 1, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

At the Senior Bowl, was first to report that Doug Pederson was going to be the head coach of the Jaguars. A day later, NFL Network and ESPN reported the same information, and as one could expect, neither had the integrity to cite as breaking the news. With Pederson and the Jaguars holding the No. 1-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, there will be a lot of attention again on Jacksonville and who the the organization will take first overall. Some of the same Jaguars sources that revealed the Peterson news, said the Jaguars do not have a definite favorite for the No. 1 pick right now, although some of the team’s evaluators have preference toward using the pick on Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.

The majority of mock drafts have the Jaguars taking Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, but some of Jacksonville’s scouting staff graded Hutchinson higher than Neal. The Jaguars also have high grades on LSU cornerback Derek Stingley and USC wide receiver Drake London. They feel that Stingley could be the best defensive athlete in the 2022 NFL Draft, and London is very talented as well.

“Neal might have more upside, but Hutch is a no brainer,” said one source. “[Charles] Cross isn’t to shabby either. Evan should go top five without a trade.”

While some Jaguars evaluators like Hutchinson over Neal, they do not know what direction the team will go. General manager Trent Baalke and Doug Pederson have not indicated who they want at this point. With the combine just starting, which will be followed by pro days, pre-draft visits, and April draft meetings, a lot will change in the weeks to come. Some within the Jacksonville organization, however, seem inclined to take Hutchinson with the first-overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.