Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is one of three finalists to win the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. The No. 2 overall pick by the Lions is joined by Jets CB Sauce Gardner and Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen.
The AP award is the “official” honor recognized by the NFL. Hutchinson has a strong case to win the award. He was the NFL’s defensive rookie of the month for both November and December/January, pacing all first-year players with 9.5 sacks and also picking off three passes. Hutchinson also commanded double-team blocking more than any other pass rusher, rookie or otherwise.
Gardner is the odds-on favorite to win the award. He earned All-Pro status at cornerback as a rookie and led the NFL in passes defended with 20. Gardner also captured the PFWA defensive rookie of the year honors.