Throughout most of the pre-draft process leading into the 2022 NFL Draft, then-Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson was in the thick of the conversation to be selected by the Jaguars with the No. 1 overall pick. However, that never came to fruition as Jacksonville opted to go with Travon Walker, which left Hutchinson available for his hometown Lions to take him at No. 2 overall.
In other situations, we've seen players that get passed up on holding a grudge against that specific team (or teams). However, that doesn't seem to be the case here with Hutchinson. As the Lions host the Jaguars for joint practices this week, Hutchinson admitted that he never thinks about the snub.
"Nope," he said about the Jaguars passing on him, via MLive.com. "I'm happy here. Very thankful. Very thankful. I mean, it all worked out. It was divine timing. The way things went were the way things were supposed to go."
It makes sense why Hutchinson is happy with the way things turned out, given his hometown roots playing at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Michigan and then the University of Michigan at the colligate level. It only makes sense that he wanted to continue the trend in the NFL.
"The whole draft process, I wanted them to pick me," Hutchinson said.
Not only was he able to remain at home, the pass rusher enjoyed a prolific rookie season that found him finishing second behind Jets corner Sauce Gardner for defensive rookie of the year. Hutchinson finished with 9.5 sacks, 15 quarterback hits, and 52 tackles in 17 games for Detroit. Now, as the Lions have division-winning expectations coming into 2023, Hutchinson is looking to bring his game to the next level, possibly to the chagrin of the Jags.
"I think the sky's the limit for me," he said. "I really feel that. I haven't even scratched my potential yet. I feel like I'm still stacking the days, getting so much better every day. Man, it's going to be a fun year."