The Detroit Lions roll into training camp a team with some high expectations for 2022, and the reasoning behind that has a lot to do with some of the team’s players.
Most expect a resurgent season from a young roster, and also believe the team will see some players step up and deliver, perhaps even new players that are starting off their careers with the team.
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Such is the case with rookie defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson. After being the team’s second-overall pick out of Michigan, Hutchinson has come to the team with plenty of fanfare, but has not let anyone down as of yet. That trend is now being projected to continue into camp.
Recently, ESPN analyst Eric Woodyard was charged with making a prediction heading into Lions camp. His answer to that question was a simple one: Hutchinson is simply going to “live up to the hype” that he’s already received.
“There’s obviously high expectations for the Plymouth, Michigan, native entering his first training camp, but throughout the offseason, the coaching staff and his teammates have been impressed with his work ethic and ability to adjust to the new surroundings. Hutchinson was an All-American at Michigan, but the Wolverines’ defense struggled on the national stage in the Orange Bowl against Georgia. Can he become an elite talent in the NFL ranks? Detroit could’ve gone in a number of different directions in a draft featuring several quality pass-rushers, but the feeling here is Hutchinson will meet — or exceed — expectations,” Woodyard wrote.
Hutchinson getting this done would prove a major boost to the Lions overall. The team needs a player who can set the tone on defense by himself, and it has looked as if Hutchinson gives them a chance to have such a player on the field fast.
There’s also plenty of reasons this prediction for Hutchinson may not turn out to be all that wild in the end, as well.
Hutchinson Has Gained Offseason Hype for Lions
Entering into his rookie year, you’d be hard-pressed to find a player who is generating more buzz than Hutchinson. Immediately after he was drafted, Hutchinson surged in terms of Defensive Rookie of the Year odds for 2022, proving that most figure he will be able to put up some significant numbers during his first season on the field. Additionally, Hutchinson has been lauded by his teammates and coaches for his hard work already. By the time the team broke for the summer out of offseason workouts, Hutchinson already admitted he felt as if he had a major understanding of the team’s defense, a notable step for his readiness.
In terms of work ethic and fit, it seems Hutchinson is a quick home run for the Lions. The team needed a grinder that had the possibility of elevating Detroit’s defense on his own, and it seems as if all signs point to that possibly playing out early in 2022.
Dan Campbell: Hutchinson Can Help Lions Win
If Hutchinson hits the ground running as being predicted by Woodyard, it likely won’t come as a surprise to the team’s coaching staff. Speaking with the media on Thursday, May 26, after practice, Detroit head coach Dan Campbell was asked early impressions of Hutchinson. As he said, the Lions have a player that he thinks can make an instant impact on the field given some of the things he’s already shown.
“Dan Campbell on Aidan Hutchinson: “His DNA says that he’s going to do everything that he can to be successful. And he’s got enough ability and enough strength .. to go out there and help us and help us win some games,” the coach told the media as shown in Birkett’s tweet.
Hutchinson has been seen as very pro ready for 2022, so the fact that he showed these traits to the Lions before even camp begins is notable. The team will now want to see him get off to as fast as a start as possible to help them on defense.
Some, like Woodyard, think that might be a quick lock to play out.