2021 NFL Draft: We must wait one more year on Aidan Hutchinson

Aidan Hutchinson

Aidan Hutchinson.

We press the breaks on evaluating Aidan Hutchinson for one more year

University of Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson announced on his Twitter account Monday afternoon he will return to Ann Arbor for his senior year. Hutchinson tallied 13 tackles in two games as a junior for the Wolverines before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the 2020 season.

I wrote last week that I would like to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft Hutchinson in the second round. I understand the reasoning why he would come back for his senior year, he is a Michigan native, and playing at the school is a big deal especially with the history and pageantry of the maize and blue on Saturdays.

Another reason why I think it will be a good idea for him to return is the fact that the ongoing health crisis is still impacting the draft process. We still don’t know what the process will fully look like and having the opportunity to interview in person and workout at a Pro Day and Combine would have been big for him especially missing most of his junior year.

Where Aidan Hutchinson stands in 2022 NFL Draft process

Hutchinson has a lot of upside and still has time to get better at Michigan while being fully healthy. He is only 20 years old and won’t be 21 years old until next year’s Fall camp. He broke out as a sophomore with 68 tackles (34 solo), four and a half sacks, two forced fumbles, and six passes defended. His play on the field earned him All-Big Ten Honorable Mention at the end of the 2019 season.

Kyle Crabbs breaks down Hutchinson’s game as he returns to Ann Arbor:

“Smooth athlete for his stature, offers surprising body control, lean and fluidity in space despite his long frame. Impressive presence along the line of scrimmage — he was tasked with predominantly playing the “anchor” DE role in Michigan’s defense (Rashan Gary’s role) but also took snaps at 4i, 3T and 0T over the center depending on down and distances. He’s a power rusher but offers a good release off the LOS when rushing as well, offering heavy hands and success to bubble the point of attack before transitioning to shuck his blocks. Wins off the edge with a rip and dip. He’s a high motor effort player as well, frequently rallying to the football outside the numbers.”

His motor and his length at 6-foot-6 are what really stood out to me when I watched him play. Creating havoc in the backfield while also finishing on plays away from him. Now that he is returning to school, I think he is likely a first-round pick next season especially after being fully rehabbed from his injury and having more tape for teams to evaluate.