Lions bolster pass rush, get Hutchinson at No. 2

Lions bolster pass rush, get Hutchinson at No. 2

Detroit Lions take Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson with No. 2 overall pick in NFL draft

8:22 PM ET

Eric WoodyardESPN

The Detroit Lions went with a local choice Thursday night, selecting Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes said throughout this past season that he couldn't escape the chatter of fans pushing him to select Hutchinson, even while casually dropping in and out of restaurants near the team's practice facility.

Way before enjoying an All-America career at Michigan, where he was named a 2021 Heisman Trophy finalist, Hutchinson played defensive end, tight end, offensive lineman and long-snapper at Divine Child High School in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. He was born in Plymouth, which is less than 30 miles from Ford Field.

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"I don't feel a whole lot of pressure," said Hutchinson, who is the highest-drafted defensive player in Michigan history. "It's great to come back to home."

The Lions need a game-changer to help immediately after a 3-13-1 finish and ranking 31st in opponents' points per game (27.5) last season. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, they have finished in the bottom five in pressure percentage in each of the past six seasons. Last season they were 29th in pressure percentage and 30th in sacks.

Hutchinson set the Michigan single-season record with 14 sacks in 2021, a mark previously held by David Bowens (1996) and LaMarr Woodley (2006) with 12. Hutchinson generated pressure on 16% of opposing quarterbacks' dropbacks, the seventh-highest rate in the FBS in 2021.

Hutchinson is a Michigan man to the core. His father, Chris, was a former team captain for the Wolverines who played defensive tackle and outside linebacker from 1989 to 1992. His mother, Melissa, also went to Michigan, as did his sisters, Mia and Aria, who both graduated from the university.

With Georgia's Travon Walker going No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars, this is the first time since 1972 that defensive ends went with the top two picks.

Up until the start of this week, odds boards had Hutchinson as the consensus pick to go No. 1 to the Jaguars.

"It seemed like things started changing a couple days ago," Hutchinson said, "but I'm grateful to be where I'm at."