Schrager: Aidan Hutchinson Not a 'Slam Dunk' for Lions with No. 2 NFL Draft Pick

Adam WellsApril 28, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 05: Aidan Hutchinson #DL31 of the Michigan Wolverines runs a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 05, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Conventional wisdom has said the Detroit Lions will take Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NFL draft if he's available, but that might not be a lock.

On The Pat McAfee Show (starts at 2:20 mark), Peter Schrager of Fox Sports said there are a lot people around the NFL who have called him to say Hutchinson is not a "slam dunk" to the Lions with the second pick. 

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

"One team in the top ten texted me &amp; said they've heard Thibodeaux to Detroit" ~<a href="https://twitter.com/PSchrags?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PSchrags</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PMSDraftSpectacularDay?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PMSDraftSpectacularDay</a> <a href="https://t.co/Oh9mwKd2h7">pic.twitter.com/Oh9mwKd2h7</a>

As rumors have picked up that the Jacksonville Jaguars prefer Travon Walker with the top pick, it makes sense that Hutchinson would be connected to the Lions. 

Hutchinson played four seasons at the University of Michigan. He finished second in 2021 Heisman Trophy voting, becoming the first defensive player to finish that high since Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o in 2012. 

There have been indications leading up to the draft that Detroit's infatuation with Hutchinson may not be as strong as that local connection makes it seem. 

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein reported Thursday that Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux is "very much" in play at No. 2, though he did note that could be tied to Hutchinson potentially going to the Jaguars with the first pick. 

Per Peter King of Football Morning in America, there has been some late buzz that the Lions are "smitten" with Thibodeaux and will strongly consider taking him. 

As is often the case leading up to the draft, there are conflicting stories about how key Lions' decision-makers feel about Thibodeaux. 

Albert Breer of The MMQB reported on April 15 that Campbell "isn't a fan" of Thibodeaux.

Speaking to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Thibodeaux said he's had constant communication with Campbell. 

"I talk to Dan too much," Thibodeaux said jokingly. "I’m tired of talking to Dan. Dan got me on speed dial. Not like that, I’m just joking. But we’ve had lots of talks."

Lions general manager Brad Holmes told The Athletic's Chris Burke that he saw Thibodeaux a lot dating back to the college season. 

"With Oregon, I went out there and I went to a Thibodeaux game," Holmes said. "But I went out there and I just wanted to see him live again. I had seen a lot of the pass rushers, so I wanted to make sure that I kind of had equal footing."

Both players are generally regarded as the top two edge-rushers in the 2022 draft class. Hutchinson has the tape from last season to back him up with 16.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in 14 games for the Wolverines. 

Thibodeaux performed well as a junior at Oregon. He finished the 2021 season with 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 10 games. 

Whatever the Lions end up doing, everyone will find out when they go on the clock with the No. 2 pick in the draft on Thursday night.