Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
I know! I know! Everyone get your groans and sighs out now. Another mock draft out of the 100ish we all read a day going with the boring pick for the Jaguars! No excitement or wackiness to kick off the BGN Community Mock Draft. But please, don’t click away from the page or scroll down to the poll to auto disapprove! Hear me out!
First, while I must admit the thought of screwing up all my fellow pickers by going with a crazy nonsensical selection was tempting, the urge to do right by the community led me to this pick, which while boring, does make sense for Jacksonville. This is not a lazy attempt, nor did I just select Aidan because every other mock draft or big board says he is best, and I hope through my writeup I will convince you of that.
Team Overview/ The Need
So, let’s talk about Jacksonville. They seem to be perennial Top-5 drafters (except the weird anomaly that is 2017) and can never seem to get it right. A disastrous start to 2021 under Urban Meyer led to much drama and an on-field product that was a pain to watch. Trevor Lawrence had a forgettable rookie year, and both the offense and defense were among the worst in the league. Their season highlights were upsetting the Bills in a defensive slug fest and putting the nail in the coffin on the Carson Wentz era in Indy in week 18.
Fast forward to today, Jacksonville hires Doug Pederson to turn the ship around like he helped to do after the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia. Armed with ample cap space, Doug and GM Trent Baalke focused on upgrading the offense by franchise tagging OT Cam Robinson, signing OG Brandon Scherff, adding WR Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, and TE Evan Engram. Likewise, the addition of Press Taylor as OC, Jim Bob-Cooter as Passing Game Coordinate, and Mike McCoy as Quarterbacks Coach points to a season goal of drastically approving the offense and maximizing Trevor Lawrence’s potential so he ascends to the quarterback everyone expected him to be coming out of college.
With the offense upgraded, the defense is still a mesh with many holes. Josh Allen is a stud at DE, but other than that, what notable players play for this defense? If I had to list the areas for Jacksonville to target in the draft, I would say:
- WR (Depth mostly_
- O-Line (Depth mostly)
So why is DE the pick?
With projected star cornerbacks Derek Stingley JR. (LSU), Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati), and Trent McDuffie (Washington), linebackers Devin Lloyd (Utah and Nakobe Dean (Alabama), and others (especially many top 10 projects OTs like Evan Neal) there is plenty of talent for Jacksonville to choose from to fill those needs. The reason for DE is twofold: 1.) there is an exponential increase in recent years in teams desiring and investing in D-Line talent to rush star QBs and 2.) I personally feel the correct path is try and trade down and pickup more assets and pick top talent for some of these other positions (say down to picks 5-10), but trades aren’t allowed in this mock.
So, while I feel other positions/players could justify being picked by the Jaguars, I do not see them being worth the first overall. However, I do agree with all the “experts” and mock drafts that one of the three top rushers could be worth the pick.
The Selection / The Fit
Let’s look at some stats around Jacksonville’s defense:
- 31st in DVOA
- 26.9 points per game allowed (5th worst)
- 17th in passing yards per game allowed
- 22nd in rushing yards per game allowed
- 5th worst in sacks per game (1.9 sacks)
- Sack percentage 21st ranked at 5.57%
- Last in turnovers forced (.5 per game or 9 total)
The stats tell us the Jaguars fielded a below average defense at stopping the run and pass. They couldn’t force turnovers and struggled to rush the passer. An argument one could make is the Jaguar’s defense was not as terrible as some of the stats portray due to the offense’s inability to function leading to more pressure on the defense. However, overall, the defense did not perform and needs improvements across the board. Now there are arguably three EDGE rushers you could take at 1: Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan, Kayvon Thibodeaux from Oregon, and Travon Walker from Georgia. If I had the time, energy, and space (as I already feel this is a lengthy post) I would do a look at the three of them to show why Aidan is the best selection. However, to keep things brief I will only look at what makes Hutchinson the best player for the Jaguars.
New defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell aims to implement Todd Bowles’ defensive system which is a 3-4 system that matches what the Jaguars current defensive structure is made for. In college under Mike Macdonald, the defense was adjusted based on matchup but if one had to define the system it would fall under a 3-4 as well. Given Hutchinson’s dominance in college in that system, it is unlikely he will struggle in Jacksonville’s system.
Unfortunately, I do not trust my ability to try and show clips and break down what makes him such a special player. Other Mock Draft GMs in years past have and I commend them for that. Maybe next year I can show up and produce 10 clips highlighting his skills but for now I will include links to some tape for you all to watch as well as a scouting report.
Some things that struck me when I watched tape is how quick and powerful, he is. Even if he didn’t get home, he routinely seemed to significantly push the OT back.
I think Jacksonville, assuming all their offensive additions work out, can ascend to an average team under Doug Pederson in 2022. If they are able to do that and Lawrence improves as he should with his new weapons, Jacksonville can be a desirable place for free agents in 2023 and can use their remaining cap to plug defensive holes. I believe the addition of Aidan Hutchinson will create a monstrous duo with Josh Allen that could help to hide the flaws in the rest of the defense. After all, us Eagles fans saw how a dominant pass rush in 2017 helped to cover potential liabilities in back end of the defense, especially among cornerbacks Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, and Patrick Robinson (although to be fair, Robinson played like a top 5 slot cornerback in 2017). With pass rushers becoming a position as desirable and needed as QB, Jacksonville cannot pass on the chance to add a potential difference maker to their struggling defense.
Do you approve of this pick?
This poll is closed
2022 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Jaguars (HellBentOnHurts): DE Aidan Hutchinson
2) Lions (Friendly Neighborhood Philly Fan)
3) Texans (herbalonius)
4) Jets (RideHighTide)
5) Giants (Brendanekstrom)
6) Panthers (Philliesandthebees)
7) Giants (Dr.MidnightGreen)
8) Falcons (Philly21)
9) Seahawks (chewy wellington)
10) Jets (tfrank9811)
11) Commanders (Negadelphia Norm)
12) Vikings (Kephas)
13) Texans (thebartender01)
14) Ravens (ablesser88)
15) Eagles (Fly Like An Eagle)
16) Eagles (20Safety_Hazard)
17) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!)
18) Saints (Georgia_eagle)
19) Eagles (Phoenix X Minimus)
20) Steelers (EagleDomiNation)
21) Patriots (Domonate)
22) Packers (Leo Bedio)
23) Cardinals (big DUB)
24) Cowboys (joey2arms)
25) Bills (ItownBallers22)
26) Titans (BrianMcE03)
27) Buccaneers (4133Dave)
28) Packers (The Player Formerly Known as Mousecop)
29) Chiefs (GreenGrampa)
30) Chiefs (Legend of Nick Foles)
31) Bengals (CeleryFC)
32) Lions (Dtechman44)
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected in the 2022 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Jaguars draft at No. 1 overall?
This poll is closed
DE Aidan Hutchinson
OT Ikem Ekwonu
DE Travon Walker
OT Evan Neal
S Kyle Hamilton