ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit did not waste much time when it was on the clock.
The Lions grabbed Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinsonwith the No. 2 pick in the NFLdraft Thursday night, barely using its allotted five minutes to address a desperate need with a hometown star from suburban Detroit.
Hutchinson set a single-season school record with 14 sacks for the Wolverines last season and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. He is the highest-drafted defensive player in Michigan history.
Hutchinson hugged his parents and two sisters in Las Vegas before going on stage as Detroit’s selection. His father, Chris, was a Michigan captain and Big Ten defensive lineman of the year in 1992.
Detroit also had an opportunity to add much-needed talent on both sides of the ball with the second pick in the draft, the last one in the first round along with six other selections this week. The Lions seem to have more needs on defense than offense with veteran quarterback Jared Goff surrounded by solid players on the line, at tight end and running back.
Jacksonville took Georgia defensive end Travon Walker No. 1 overall, giving second-year general manager Brad Holmes a chance to draft the best player on the team’s board. Detroit probably would have taken Hutchinson at No. 1, too.
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound pass rusher is a relentless player, fitting the mold of players coveted by second-year coach Dan Campbell. He has drawn comparisons to a pair of former Ohio State defensive ends, Nick and Joey Bosa.
The Lions certainly can use his help, slowing down offenses and firing up fans tiring of their losing ways.
Detroit’s defense averaged just 1.8 sacks last year, ranking ahead of only Atlanta. The lack of a pass rush led to the Lions giving up 5.9 yards per play and 27.5 points per game, two more categories in which they ranked No. 31 out of 32 NFL teams.
The Lions drafted former Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell No. 7 overall last year and he helped the line become one of their strengths. With the No. 3 pick overall in 2020, Detroit drafted former Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and he has not panned out so far due to injuries.
Detroit has selected and missed more than it has connected with good picks over the years.
That led to the Lions losing their first eight games and went 0-2-1 over the next three before finally winning a game under Campbell and closing with three wins over the last six games.
Detroit’s rebuilding plan included trading quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Goff and a pair of first-round picks, including the No. 32 selection this year.
Before his big moment, Hutchinson carried out a sweet surprise for his mother, Melissa, giving her a Leo Frost-designed necklace with a dog tag to honor her grandfather and World War II veteran.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism