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Chris Long: 'You Can Do a Lot of Stuff with Aidan Hutchinson'

Former NFL defensive end Chris Long believes the Detroit Lions will be able to do a lot with No. 2 overall selection Aidan Hutchinson.

Mark down Chris Long as another member of the media that loves Aidan Hutchinson, the Detroit Lions' No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

Before joining the media and becoming the host of "The Green Light" podcast, Long was a prolific pass rusher himself, like Hutchinson. 

Long played 11 seasons in the NFL, and amassed 70 total sacks, including 41.5 sacks from 2010-13 with the St. Louis Rams.

Now, the hope is that Hutchinson can put up similar numbers in a Lions uniform.

Detroit general manager Brad Holmes even used Long as his player comp for Hutchinson during a recent appearance on the "Rich Eisen Show".

"When I first saw him (Hutchinson), he reminded me of Chris Long a little bit,” Holmes told Rich Eisen. “And, I was with the Rams back when we drafted Chris Long, and the reason why that was such a unique comparison is because at the time, back in ’08, we were more of like a four-man front defense and Chris Long was running a 3-4 at UVA (the University of Virginia). And so then, we had to project him as kind of an EDGE guy. And so then, you fast-forward to Aidan and again (when I was) still with the Rams, I think Brandon Staley was on our defense at the time. We were running more of a 3-4 front at the time. And then, we were like, man, this guy (Hutchinson) can really be a 5-technique or be a bunch of different things. But, then you see him the next season, and he just shows a whole new toolbox that I was like, ‘Wow.’ And, it was just an uptick in excitement in light form. But, we’re really, really excited about him.”


Long had the chance to comment on the comparison made by Holmes, also as part of a segment on the Eisen-hosted talk show.

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"The thing is I've met Aidan Hutchinson in person. He's been on my show. Then, I met him at the draft. Met his parents. They're awesome. And, he dwarfed me," Long said. "It's the same thing when someone comped me to Maxx Crosby. I was standing next to Maxx Crosby, and I feel like a kid. So, I think sometimes these comps are a little bit, but hey, Brad Holmes is the one who broke me down and Aidan down, as well. And, if that's the comp, so be it. I guess good for him. Some people would say not good for him. But, you know, I don't know how many people watched me in St. Louis, and probably the same people aren't going to watch him in Detroit."

Long went on to opine about a couple of the other top EDGE rushers taken in this past April's draft, including No. 1 overall selection Travon Walker and Kayvon Thibodeaux, who went to the N.Y. Giants at No. 5. 

Long described Thibodeaux as his "favorite upside player," while labeling Hutchinson as a high "floor" player, just as he said he was when he was selected by the Rams with the No. 2 pick in 2008.

"When you draft Aidan Hutchinson, the reason they're comparing Aidan Hutchinson to me is I hear the word 'safe' a lot. Like the upside isn't there," Long expressed. "I always think of myself as a guy who probably played out as a top 10-15 player, and not a No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 or No. 4 pick. So, you know the floor is not real low with Aidan Hutchinson." 

While the former Wolverines defensive end might not possess the upside that Thibodeaux does, there's still a lot of things to like about Hutchinson, according to Long. 

"The thing I think people like about Hutchinson, and maybe a reason that Brad might compare us, is I was a 3-4 defensive end at Virginia, and it took me a year and a half to figure out how to play on an edge," Long said. "But, on the good side of that, in the prime of my career, I played in a 4-high, in Gregg Williams' defense. So, you know, you can do a lot of stuff with Aidan Hutchinson. He might not have the upside from a sack total standpoint, as a pure 4-3 rusher and outside backer. But, you're going to be able to move him around, and he's going to set the edge and play the run, as well."