Michigan's defensive end Aiden Hutchinson is about the closest thing you will find in this year's draft to San Francisco defensive end, Nick Bosa.
For that reason, I expect the Jets to package both of their first round selections (currently fourth and sixth overall) and trade up to the No. 1 spot in order to select Hutchinson.
Over the past few days, it has become crystal clear Bosa had more to do with the 49ers' success than I realized when Robert Saleh was their defensive coordinator. Saleh, who is now the Jets' head coach, installed a defense with San Francisco that was completely and utterly dependent on the front four getting to the quarterback.
Bosa made all the difference in Saleh's defense in San Francisco.
The only season (out of four) where Saleh's defensive unit ranked in the top-10, was in 2019 when Bosa played a full season. Saleh's defenses were ranked 25th (2017) and 28th (2018) before Bosa got to San Francisco and 17th (2020) when he missed almost the entire season with a torn ACL. It was only during the 2019 season, Bosa's rookie year, Saleh's defense dominated while being ranked 8th overall.
Bosa had nine sacks and the fourth-most quarterback pressures in the league that season (60).
Without having a "Bosa-like force" to fit into Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich's scheme, the Jets' defense is currently ranked dead last in 2021 and it probably will not improve much beyond that in 2022.
Hutchinson, who had 14 sacks at Michigan this season, is the most sure-bet of the top-five projected picks. Hutchinson is the perfect fit into Saleh's defensive philosophy. It is the right fit for Hutchinson too, because he fits best into a 4-3 (four defensive linemen and three linebacker front).
The Jets are averaging 2.1 sacks per game this season (19th). When you compared that number to San Francisco in 2019 under Saleh, they averaged 3.2 sacks per game and made it to the Super Bowl. It does not sound like a huge difference, but it is. The leading team this season is Tampa Bay at 2.9 sacks per game.
The Jets need to draft Hutchinson.
#97 Aiden Hutchinson 6-foot-6, 265 pounds
Games reviewed in 2021 (for this scouting report): Washington, Ohio State and Penn State.
2021 college stats: 13 games played, 58 tackles (33 solo, 25 assisted), 15.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 3 passes broken up, 12 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles. Set new school record for sacks in a single season.
Grade: First Round
NFL comparable: Jared Allen, Nick Bosa
Medical Note: suffered fractured right ankle in 2020.
Notes: Dramatically better against Ohio State and Penn State in later season film than against Western Michigan and Michigan State. Gave a 2nd Round Grade in Fall report, but improved motor in late season action elevates him back into the 1st Round.
Versatile EDGE with combination of persistence, power and speed with good hand usage who keeps coming. Much better against the pass than the run. As a pass rusher does a good job testing offensive tackles on both side through front and back doors. Flip flops sides often. Keeps testing tackles until he finds a way in. Can get hung up as a result on some reps. Is not all out on every snap, but showed an improved motor later in the season. Looked more relentless like he did when I looked at him last season. Best when he can slip to inside gap and crash like a caveman into the pocket. Showed burst. Did flash ability to bull rush. Ran over Penn State tackle. Flashed spin, swim and double move to win (stop and go). Put up a lot of pressures and good sack production against Ohio State, and Penn State. Also looked good against Northeastern in earlier fall report. Not nearly as much of a factor against the run in any 2021 exposure. Often hung up outside and I did not like when he backed off or pulled up on active running plays. Occasionally able to shoot gap to make a dramatic blow up hit, but more often sometimes involved laterally (parallel) if he can overcome the block. Disinterested against the run for the most part. This guy is a one-dimensional defensive linemen who excels as a pass rusher.
It is all about finding difference makers in the draft.
Hutchinson is one of those difference makers, who can put heat on quarterbacks each week in the NFL.
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