- Aidan Hutchinson is the favorite to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
- Hutchinson’s +500 odds place him above Kayvon Thibodeaux (+550) and Travon Walker (+750), his biggest positional rivals.
- Both his teammates and his coach describe Hutchinson as “like a sponge” in terms of willingness to learn.
LAS VEGAS – The NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds are out, and Aidan Hutchinson leads by a hair over Kayvon Thibodeaux and a variety of other top defensive performers.
2022/23 – Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
- Aidan Hutchinson +500
- Kayvon Thibodeaux +550
- Travon Walker +750
- Kyle Hamilton +800
- Quay Walker +800
- Devin Lloyd +900
- Jermaine Johnson II +900
- Ahmad Gardner +1000
- Derek Stingley Jr +1000
- Nakobe Dean +1200
Hutchinson, the consensus number one pick going into the month of the 2022 NFL Draft, was taken second behind Travon Walker (who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars) by the Detroit Lions.
Walker tested off the charts at the NFL Combine, but did not come close to Hutchinson’s production in college.
Hutchinson racked up 14 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in his final year with the Michigan Wolverines, en route to a runner-up spot in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Walker, by contrast, had only 13 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks in his final year with the Georgia Bulldogs. But, he ran a 4.51 40 yard dash with a 35.5 inch vertical leap and a 10 foot 3 inch broad jump at 6’5’ and 272 pounds.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, formerly of the Oregon Ducks, was favored at NFL betting sites as the first pick off the board heading into the 2021-2022 college football season.
He fell in the draft after playing sporadically after an outstanding freshman year, but still was voted an All-American, and only fell as far as the New York Giants’ fifth pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Thibodeaux is best thought of as a mixture between the technique and polish of Hutchinson and the off-the-charts athleticism of Walker.
Thibodeaux has a 36 inch vertical leap and a 9 foot 9 inch broad jump, with a slower (4.58) 40 yard dash time, and he’s 6’4’’ and 251 LBS, so he’s smaller than Walker as well.
Both of them put Hutchinson to shame as an athlete in terms of measurables, however.
Hutchinson ran a 4.74 40 yard dash and had the same vert and broad jump as Thibodeax, but did so while weighing 260 lbs.
It might be Hutchinson’s football acumen and attitude that sets him apart from the other two top competitors.
“He’s been all business. I told my wife this last night. I was like, ‘you know what’s great about him is he’s quietly getting better right in front of us.’ He doesn’t say anything. He listens,” said Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell. “He’s like a sponge in there. He absorbs the information. He watches how things are done and the way coaches want them done and then he’s got a motor and he goes. He learns and gets better every day. You just see it. So, I love that about him. Every day, there’s growth right in front of us.”
Fellow Lions defensive end Michael Brockers said almost the exact same thing as his coach did when asked about Hutchinson.
“He’s a guy who’s ready to learn,” Brockers said. “He’s like a sponge. He’ll pick up everything.”
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