The Detroit Lions had high expectations for defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson when they selected him at No. 2 overall in last year's NFL Draft. And the 22-year-old lived up to expectations, winning the 2022 Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year Award. PopCulture.com recently spoke exclusively to Hutchinson about being named Rookie of the Year.
"It was amazing. It's a true blessing," Hutchinson exclusively told PopCulture. "I put in too much work for this Rookie of the Year and it was so... A lot of trials and tribulations, a lot of ups and downs, but I came out on top and won the Rookie of the Year, so I'm happy."
Hutchinson, who played college football for the Michigan Wolverines, played in all 17 games for the Lions last season and finished with 52 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and three interceptions. Along with winning Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year, Hutchinson finished second in AP Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, with first place going to Sauce Gardner, cornerback of the New York Jets.
One of the biggest things that help Hutchinson succeed is being able to adjust to the speed of the game. "Yeah, the game slowed down. I learned a lot of lessons and my instincts grew so much," he said. "Just learning this NFL game, my instincts grew tremendously throughout that season."
Hutchinson is part of the franchise that has never played in a Super Bowl. Additionally, the Lions have not made the playoffs since 2016, and before the 2022 season, they have suffered four consecutive losing seasons. But Lions fans now have hope because the team finished the 2022 season with a 9-8 record and one game away from reaching the postseason. And the regular season ended on a very high note as the Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers and kept them out of the playoffs.
"I think it's that. It's got to be that," Hutchinson said when asked about the final game of the season. "That's the highlight of my year. Best way to go out right there." And as for his goals for the 2023 season, Hutchinson said, "The sky's the limit for me, I think. I'm going for it all. I've moved on from the rookie year. I've learned what I have to learn and now I'm taking all my knowledge and I'm all in, man. I'm ready to go."0comments