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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

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Michigan EDGE Aidan Hutchinson

6-foot-7
260 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.85 — certain first-round pick; immediate impact prospect

Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2022 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Here's how we use our prospect grades for the 2022 NFL draft. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

TL;DR scouting report

High-floor immediate starter who might never be special but who can add energy, leadership and playmaking ability vs. the pass and run

The skinny

A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 129 nationally) who chose the Wolverines over mostly Big Ten schools, plus LSU and Boston College. After playing 13 games as a reserve his freshman year, Hutchinson earned a starting role in 2019 with 10 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, six batted passes and two forced fumbles. In 2020, Hutchinson suffered a season-ending leg injury and returned to school. In his final season in 2021, he was named a Heisman Trophy finalist with 16.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, three passes defended, two forced fumbles and one recovery. Hutchinson turned down an invitation for the Senior Bowl.

Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson projects to be an instant-impact player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Michigan defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson projects to be an instant-impact player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

Upside

  • Excellent work ethic and character — lauded as program leader

  • Tone setter and mature enough to handle high expectations

  • Puts in extra time in the weight room

  • Outstanding frame and weight distribution

  • Strong, consistent effort — will chase down plays from far away

  • Has a little vinegar in his veins — won't easily get bullied and won't back down from rock fights

  • Great stamina — two seasons with 700-plus snaps and eight career games with 70-plus snaps

  • Fights through stalemates and is rarely driven out of plays

  • Generates instant explosion off the snap

  • Good twist and stunt potential — runs tight loops and closed quickly

  • Kitchen sink full of rush moves — and can string them together well

  • Very good reactionary skills to seize unexpected opportunities

  • Matured pass-rush technique evident in 2021 breakout season

  • Natural hand technician who has developed this ability over three years

  • 3-cone drill time (6.73 seconds) historically good, plus excellent short shuttle (4.15)

  • Fairly scheme-diverse and can kick inside and rush passer vs. guards

  • Rushes from two- and three-point stances and equal effectiveness vs. left and right tackles

Downside

  • Limited arm length — 32 1/8 inches is about 10th percentile for EDGE prospects

  • Not yet an advanced hand technician, a la Bosa brothers or Myles Garrett

  • Very good athlete but lacks elite power

  • Still learning how to stack and shed — and lack of arm length could always be hindrance

  • Can improve at getting hands up to close down passing windows

  • Might not be able to stack much more mass on his frame without sacrificing quickness

  • Showed he can drop into short zones occasionally in 2021 but most effective moving forward

  • Can do better job locating the ball — forced two fumbles last season but didn't see ball on ground on either play while celebrating

  • Locked up well by Georgia's Jamaree Salyer in national-semifinal game

Best-suited destination

Hutchinson isn't going to last long. He could make a franchise pillar for any of the teams picking in the top five overall: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets and New York Giants. Trading up for Hutchinson feels less likely, but there isn't a team that couldn't use his energy, maturity, effort and impact.

Did you know

His father, Chris, was a former Michigan captain, playing both defensive tackle and outside linebacker for the Wolverines from 1989 to 1992, winning team MVP honors in his final season and ranking 14th on Michigan's career tackles-for-loss list.

Player comp

Chris Long and Maxx Crosby — With his tenacity, Hutchinson channels both Long and Crosby and should turn in a long, productive career even if he's not a perennial All-Pro candidate.

Expected draft range

Top 5 overall, possibly No. 1 overall