NFL Draft Profile – Aidan Hutchinson
School – Michigan Wolverines
Position – Edge
Class – Senior
Height – 6’5” Weight – 270lbs
Aidan Hutchinson is the epitome of the 2021 Michigan Wolverines. The star edge rusher is a 100% effort 100% of the time kind of player. His work ethic and talent led the Maize & Blue to a Big Ten Championship Title, a win over Ohio State and a shot at the playoffs. Hutchinson stood out on a talented team and was rewarded personally for his contribution. His final year in college was highly decorated as he was awarded the MVP in the Championship Game, the Rotary Lombardi Award for best lineman and finished as the Heisman runner-up.
Making noise for his NFL Draft Profile – Aidan Hutchinson has been a top edge prospect throughout his Michigan career and the NFL was always going to come calling, but a fantastic 2021 season has catapulted him into a ‘must-have’ 1st round pick. He set a new school record with 14 sacks in the year and added 16.5 tackles for loss for good measure.
Aidan Hutchinson is absolutely perfect for any team operating a 4-3 defense. He has been an elite college pass-rusher and will get to the quarterback when unleashed. Hutchinson operates best with his hand in the dirt, getting an explosive first step off the line of scrimmage.
He has ideal length and reach for an edge rusher, and will measure up well at the combine. Hutchinson uses that reach really effectively in combination with his hand skills. He possesses a quick, powerful punch which wins many a battle with O-lineman at the initial contact. If he needs something extra, his excellent hand movement and counters can free him up to accelerate past blockers.
Hutchinson is a strong run defender who is very disciplined in his reads. He will rack up tackles and occupy blockers to allow linebackers to get to the ball-carrier because he rarely – if ever – gets caught guessing whether it’s run or pass.
Areas of Improvement
The most glaring area for improvement in Hutchinson’s game is his coverage. He looks comically outmatched when asked to cover the running back or receiver, unable to keep pace and step with the opposition. Sure, he could improve this with study and hard work but I don’t think this will ever be an area in which he’ll excel. The best thing to do? Don’t ask him to do it! Leave the man to master his rushing craft and stuff the run.
Hutchinson’s discipline is right on the border at the snap, which has been a huge plus point. He manages to expertly time the snap and get a head-start on a play, but with closer inspection may have actually jumped offside on occasion. In the NFL timing your move and jumping the snap is more complex, and nothing kills a career faster than constant penalties. It’s not so much an area for improvement, more for continued study.
It’s apparent that Hutchinson loves contact. Why not when you can put someone on the floor on your way to the QB?! Well, he can be so eager for contact that he stretches, leaving his feet behind him and limiting the impressive strength he has at his disposal. Not a massive weakness, but an area to fine-tune.
In 3-4 defense Hutchinson will struggle if asked to play inside and anchor an offensive lineman. This is simply not his game and not where you will get the best out of him. Hutchinson could work on his contact balance and add some weight, but you’re better off putting him on the outside and just letting him rush.
Hutchinson is a plug and play, foundational piece that struggling franchises desperately need. He can hit the ground running with impactful pass rushing, while learning the finer nuances of the role on the go. He has a high floor making him a safe 1st round pick, while also having a ridiculously high ceiling. That’s the dream combo!
He is a natural leader, someone who can influence a locker room from day 1 and set a good culture. I see him as a perfect fit in Detroit, building on Dan Campbell’s impressive first season with a dire roster. Staying home in Detroit, contributing to the honest, hard work, maximum effort environment being engrained would be a real boost for the Lions if he’s still available at pick #2.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT