Aidan Hutchinson, the Detroit Lions’ No. 2 overall draft pick, recently took a shot at Jacksonville Jaguars’ GM Trent Baalke. The Jaguars travel to Detroit to take on the Lions this Sunday.
However, months ago, Hutchinson thought he would be in Jacksonville for his rookie season.
According to Hutchinson, the Jags indicated to him for months that they were set to select him first overall in last April’s draft. However, apparently, they switched their decision in the final days.
Arm length was the factor.
“I guess my arms were just not quite long enough, but that hit a week before the draft,” recalled Hutchinson, who said he thought he’d be playing for Jacksonville for “about three months” before the team eventually selected Georgia’s Travon Walker.
“I mean, we’ll see if that inch or couple inches was the difference.”
While Hutchinson seems to call into question the importance of arm length, Jaguars GM Trent Baalke has historically loved football players with good length.
Back when he was the GM for the San Francisco 49ers, he made his obsession with long arms very clear.
“I like long arms,” he said back in 2014. “Length’s important. It’s important in every sport.”
Back in April, that thinking must have came to the forefront. The Jaguars chose to select Walker, whose arms measured in at 35.5 inches. His arms were measured at more than three inches longer than Hutchinson’s.
However, Hutchinson may have gotten the last laugh, as the rookie has been sensational this season. In his first season with the Lions, he’s led the team with 5.5 sacks, leading all rookies in sacks. He also has four tackles for loss and 10 QB hits.
Aidan Hutchinson Leads All Rookies in Sacks
The former Michigan standout has also caught two interceptions. Hutchinson is the first rookie with five-plus sacks and two-plus picks in Lions history.
On the other hand, Walker has 2.5 sacks, a pick and six QB hits on the season.
While it’s still too early to make a call on who has had the better season, Hutchinson seems to edge out Walker, short arms and all.
Before the Lions drafted Aidan Hutchinson second overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, the defensive end enjoyed a stellar senior season at Michigan. Hutchinson won the Ted Hendricks and Lombardi Awards. However, most notably, he was named runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious individual honor in college football.
He signed a four-year contract, worth $35.7 million fully guaranteed, on May 9, 2022.
Hutchinson recorded three sacks in Week 2 against the Washington Commanders. That total set a Lions rookie record for a single game. He then recorded his first career interception in a 15-9 victory over the Green Bay Packers on November 6, 2022.
Two weeks later, Hutchinson notched his second interception against the New York Giants. Hutchinson was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 11, and he was named the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month for November.