The din for Michigan junior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has been growing since he led the Wolverines in impact plays as a first-year starter in 2019: 10 tackles for loss (including 4.5 sacks) and six pass breakups for a total of 16 havoc-wreaking plays. His numbers don't even speak to the overall physical talent, high football IQ and his ability to make those around him better.
But those qualities are garnering attention from NFL observers, including ProFootballNetwork's Dalton Miller, who lists Hutchinson as the No. 20 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft (to the Buffalo Bills), the first Wolverine off the board.
"The Bills are simply going to be BIG on the edges, while Ed Oliver terrorizes the interior with his twitch and pass-rush chops," Miller writes. "But don’t let his stature fool you, as Hutchinson can move in a way that A.J. Epenesa cannot. He has a nice inside counter that he pairs with some surprising quickness for his size. If he can continue to develop his hands, he could make a legitimate push as the top outside pass rusher in the class."
Recently named to the Sports Illustrated All-Big Ten first-team (as voted on by the Big Ten publishers) and chosen by Wolverine Digest as the third-best player on this Michigan team entering 2020, Hutchinson could vie for All-America honors and Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year recognition this fall.
In the two-round Mock Draft, Miller also includes U-M redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield as the No. 57 overall pick in 2021. He could go higher than that, Mayfield a popular choice to be a first-rounder next spring.
Once again, Michigan will be up against great talent this fall, Miller rating four Buckeyes and four Nittany Lions among the draft's top 64 picks. Surprisingly, three Minnesota players also make the list while U-M opponent Purdue has one, WR Rondale Moore.
ProFootballNetwork.com Top 64 Picks In Big Ten
2 QB Justin Fields Ohio State
7 LB Micah Parson Penn State
10 CB Shaun Wade Ohio State
14 WR Rondale Moore Purdue
18 WR Rashod Bateman Minnesota
21 IOL Wyatt Davis Ohio State
26 EDGE Jayson Oweh Penn State
27 TE Pat Freiermuth Penn State
50 OT Alex Leatherwood, Minnesota
51 RB Journey Brown Penn State
53 OT Daniel Faalele Minnesota
54 OT Alaric Jackson Iowa
64 CB Tyreke Johnson Ohio State