Year after year, the Michigan Wolverines seem to send elite defensive talent to the NFL - most recently with guys like Devin Bush, Rashan Gary and Kwity Paye. It looks like the 2022 NFL draft will provide more of the same, with recent mock drafts very high on one particular Wolverine defender.
Aidan Hutchinson made the decision to return to Michigan for his senior season knowing that there was still work to be done in Ann Arbor before heading off to the NFL. The 6-6, 270 pound defensive end and team captain has put together a solid college career through his first three seasons at Michigan - appearing in 29 games with 16 career starts.
Unfortunately, Hutchinson's 2020 season was cut short after three games due to a significant leg injury that would require surgery during the off-season. The injury likely played a big factor in Hutchinson's decision to return to Michigan, with the 2021 season providing the perfect opportunity for him to showcase what he is fully capable of one last time in Ann Arbor.
Though there are still some questions surrounding Hutchinson's health and how he will look post-injury, those lingering questions aren't keeping guys like ESPN's Todd McShay from putting Hutchinson high on their latest draft boards. In fact, McShay believes Hutchinson is a future first-round pick.
At No. 8. he projects Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to the Giants.
"The Giants get back-to-back picks here, and we’ll start them off with a pass-rusher. I loved the value of getting edge rusher Azeez Ojulari in the second round last week, but I’d like to see more on that defensive front. Enter Hutchinson, who was creeping up my 2021 board before suffering a fractured leg in November and returning to school for another season. He’s 6-foot-6 and 269 pounds, and he had 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss in 2019."
If Hutchinson does end up being taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, he would become the seventh first-round pick for the Wolverines since 2017 - joining Jabrill Peppers, Taco Charlton, Devin Bush, Rashan Gary, Cesar Ruiz and Kwity Paye.