Aidan Hutchinson for Defensive Player of the Year?

Eleven weeks through the 2022-23 season, the NFL’s rookies have been phenomenal. First-round receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, alongside running backs Kenneth Walker, Dameon Pierce, and Breece Hall before his ACL injury, have all been impressive additions to their teams. On the defensive side of the ball cornerbacks, Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner and Tariq Woolen have been among the best at the position.

Aiden Hutchinson came into the year as a Defensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner, but how does he stack up against his draft classmates now over halfway through the regular season? Has he lived up to the expectations of a #2 overall pick and the hometown hero hype? Let’s break it down by the numbers.

Hutchinson, with 5.5 sacks, has nearly double the sack total of any other rookie (3). What might be even more impressive, however, are his two interceptions. Hutchinson is tied for 3rd among rookies in picks as a defensive linemen. He is the first player in over 30 years with over 5 sacks and 2 picks in his first 10 games. The Michigan product has been nothing short of sensational in his rookie season despite his role on the league’s worst statistical defense.

While Hutchinson has done more than impress, he currently sits with the third best odds to win DROY. Sauce Gardner (-165) and Tariq Woolen (+350) are both favored over him to win the award. Sauce and Woolen have been playing as well as any corner in the NFL, but Hutchinson still has +650 odds to win despite their historic performance.

In the end, individual awards are no more than bragging rights for a franchise. What teams care about, and what Lions fans should be concerned with is winning. Hutchinson, while he may not bring home the trophy, has demonstrated that he is more than capable of helping the Lions win. He is a foundational building block, alongside many other Brad Holmes selections, that the team hopes will bring home more important accolades some day.
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