Lions rookie Aidan Hutchinson is serious about making an impact in Detroit this season and continues to impress his teammates and coaches through OTAs and minicamp this offseason.
“He’s been all business,” head coach Dan Campbell said of the No. 2 overall draft pick. ‘You know what’s great about him is he’s quietly getting better right in front of us.’ He doesn’t say anything. He listens. He’s like a sponge in there. He absorbs the information. He watches how things are done and the way coaches want them done, and then he’s got a motor and he goes. He learns and gets better every day. You just see it. So, I love that about him. Every day, there’s growth right in front of us. “
Hutchinson is aiming to help turn things around for a team that came off an abysmal 3-13-1 record and last-place finish in the NFC North last season. The Lions are in dire need of help with their pass rush, and the Michigan product is a welcome addition to a team that ranked 30th in the NFL in sacks this past season.
Lions defensive end Jashon Cornell, whose locker is next to Hutchinson’s, has also praised his new teammate.
‘He showed me his ability. I was like,’ You’ve got to prove it to me with how good you are as a pass rusher. ‘ During the second or third practice, I’m like, ‘You’re legit,’ “Cornell said. “He can pass rush from inside, outside. He’s a real legit player. He showed that he’s ready for this league and I think Aidan’s great for this defensive line. He’s on his stuff 24/7. I feel like as a rookie, you come in and you get this fat playbook, and it’s all thrown at you at once. And he’s shown that he’s ready, he’s prepared. “
What’s more, Lions veteran defensive lineman Michael Brockers said the rookie has already made a strong impression on him, and he can see Hutchinson fitting into the Lions’ new scheme with ease.
“He’s just gonna keep getting better and that’s the scary thing about him,” Brockers said. “He’s a guy who’s ready to learn. He’s like a sponge. He’ll pick up everything. He has his own little niches about him, but I’m very excited to have him on this team and on this D-line.”
Hutchinson, the highest-drafted defender in Michigan history, exploded for a school-record 14 sacks in 2021 after netting just 4.5 in his first three seasons. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound edge rusher also notched 62 tackles (36 solo) and 16.5 tackles for loss en route to becoming the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, becoming just the third defensive player to finish second in the history of the award.
Two months into his NFL tenure, he believes in the potential of his new team.
“I’m very excited for this season,” Hutchinson previously told ESPN. “Obviously, you can’t predict wins, but right now, we’ve got the right chemistry for success.”
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