2022 NFL Draft Player Preview: Aidan Hutchinson

  • Aidan Hutchinson, 6-6/261

  • Defensive End

  • Michigan

  • Aidan Hutchinson 2021 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: Coming out of high school, Hutchinson was the top-rated prospect in the state of Michigan and a four-star recruit who was ranked No. 193 nationally by ESPN. Those ratings were far off, as Hutchinson became a devastating defender as an underclassman for Michigan. As a freshman in 2018, he backed up Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich, and Hutchinson earned a starting spot after they were drafted and Michigan didn't miss a beat. In fact, Hutchinson was probably more consistent as a sophomore than Gary and Winovich were in their final seasons. Hutchinson recorded 68 tackles with 4.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss, six passes batted and two forced fumbles for 2019.

    One of the highlights of Hutchinson's sophomore season was getting the better of Iowa right tackle Tristan Wirfs, who a year later was the starting right tackle for the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To end the season, Hutchinson had an impressive tape against Alabama right tackle Jedrick Wills, who was a top-10 pick and solid NFL rookie a few months later.

    Hutchinson was excellent to open 2020, collecting 13 tackles and a pass batted before going down with an ankle fracture that required surgery. Coming off the injury, Hutchinson decided to return to Michigan for the 2021 season.

    2021 Season Outlook: Hutchinson will take on some quality offensive lines during the first half of the 2021 season, including Washington and Wisconsin. The two best tackles he could see all season could be with Penn State's Rasheed Walker and Ohio State's Thayer Munford late in the season. Those will be important tapes for Hutchinson, assuming those matchups come to fruition.

    Skill-Set Summary: Hutchinson immediately jumps out when watching Michigan, as he is a disruptive presence with a tenacious style of play. Hutchinson creates disruption in both phases of the game and is just a pure football player. He is a natural, yet still has upside to grow even better in the years to come.

    Hutchinson is a beast of a pass rusher. Off the ball, he shows solid quickness to fire out of his stance to get upfield, but what makes him really special is his ability to get off blocks. Hutchinson has excellent hands and upper body strength to get offensive linemen hands off of him and push them away to get free of blockers. When he's free, Hutchinson has a burst to close, and with his big frame. he is an imposing figure who rattles quarterbacks. Hutchinson's length keeps blockers from getting into his chest, and he has quick feet to cut to the inside or outside. Thanks to some developed moves, Hutchinson demonstrates a nice rush plan and sets up tackles well. He also has good vision, intelligence, and recognition skills, which led to him batting down a lot of passes as a sophomore. While Hutchinson has yet to produce a huge sack total in college, it would not surprise me if puts up good sack totals consistently during his NFL career.

    Like all college players, continuing to add and refine pass-rushing moves is a point of emphasis for the NFL for Hutchinson. He could also help himself by working on the hoop drills that see defenders running around large circles to work on sinking their hips to redirect. Hutchinson is not a crazy bender or freakishly agile, but he is not overly stiff either. Continuing to improve his agility and ability to redirect would help his as a pro, especially because the NFL is trending to more mobile running quarterbacks.

    In the ground game, Hutchinson is special. He is a really tough run defender who does more than just set the edge. Routinely, Hutchinson will stack his blocker at the line, toss them aside, and then pursue quickly to the ball to make tackles. Hutchinson is more than just a gap plugger, as he will make plays in the backfield and work through trash to limit runs to short gains that help his defense in down-and-distance situations. With physicality and violence, Hutchinson regularly dishes out some bone-rattling hits on quarterbacks and running backs. In the NFL, Hutchinson could end up being one of the better run-defending ends.

    On top of being a tough defender in both phases, Hutchinson plays with passion and has a relentless motor. He hustles downfield and to the flat to make tackles; he gets to the quarterback with second efforts; and his excitement for his defense making big plays is palpable. Hutchinson is just a pure football player with fabulous instincts. He has the potential to be an excellent NFL defensive end.

    2022 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2021 season, Hutchinson has a good buzz with the advance scouts, and some have him with one of the highest preseason grades. If Hutchinson can avoid injury and plays like he did in 2019 and 2020, he looks like a potential high fist-round pick for the 2022 NFL Draft.



    2022 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie's | Walt's

    2022 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

    2022 NFL Draft Player Previews

    NFL Picks - Oct. 22

    2022 NFL Mock Draft - Oct. 20

    NFL Power Rankings - Oct. 19

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 8



    © 1999-2021 Walter Cherepinsky : all rights reserved
    Privacy Policy
    2 5 9

    WalterFootball.com is part of the NESN digital network.