DE Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan

6’6″ – 265 lbs.

Background:

Did a little bit of everything in high school. Rotated into the defense as a freshman, then stepped into a starting role the following year and went 68-10.0-4.5. Season ended early in 2020, but bounced back to finish second in Heisman voting this past year with an impressive 55-15.0-14.0 line.

Positives:

Highly productive edge who lines up on both ends of the defense, typically out of a two-point stance. Very well-built for a pro edge defender, with an excellent combination of height, length, and bulk; should be a fit for any scheme. Plays the game with a high motor and excellent discipline. Two-gaps very well in the run game; gets his arms extended, maintains leverage, and plays with a wide base to hold the point of attack. Sets the edge outside and funnels runners back to help. Has heavy, violent hands to discard blockers. Makes patient reads on the backside in the run game. Fairly rangy in pursuit from the backside. Shows an impressive power-based approach to rushing the passer which should translate well to the pro game. Able to convert speed to power by winning the leverage battle and using impressive leg drive to walk back blockers. Finds ways to create pressure inside. Has a nice rip move to work around blockers. Change-of-direction skills are better than anticipated for a player his size, with the ability to dip his shoulder and clean footwork to redirect. Uses stutter-steps and feints to soften the edge. Shows a nice closing burst to the passer. Looks fast and fluid in zone coverage, and was asked to play in space fairly often.

Negatives:

Not quite as explosive as Kayvon Thibodeaux and some of the other top edge prospects in recent years; generally uses a more technique-based approach to winning the edge rather than blowing past tackles with his first step. Slight gather when redirecting after getting depth as a rusher. May not have the raw speed to chase down ballcarriers from the backside. Season-ending injury in 2020 will require further investigation during the pre-draft process.

Summary:

Widely considered one of the top prospects in this year’s class for good reason, as he checks pretty much every box teams look for in an edge defender. Excellent combination of size, power, explosiveness, discipline, and energy gives him the ability to win in different ways in the passing game, to two-gap in the run game, and to drop into coverage. Looks like a plug-and-play starter and foundational piece.

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