2022 NFL Draft: How Michigan star DE Aidan Hutchinson rose to projected No. 2 pick status in 2021 season

Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has announced that he will, as expected, enter his name into the 2022 NFL Draft after a standout four-year career with the Wolverines. Though Hutchinson could have stayed one more season thanks to the NCAA’s free year of eligibility granted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hutchinson made the move official as he is projected by CBS Sports’ collective group of draft experts as a consensus top-two pick. 

“I spent years visualizing the actual moments that unfolded in my final season at Michigan,” wrote Hutchinson on his Twitter account. “November 27, 2021 was 10 years in the making and could not have been a more unforgettable night with my brothers … My Michigan legacy is complete, and it was truly the best time of my life.” 

Hutchinson heads to the draft after a truly historic senior season. The Plymouth, Michigan, native finished No. 2 in the Heisman voting and earned consensus All-America honors after breaking the school’s single-season record with 14 sacks. The Wolverines went 12-2, won the Big Ten for the first time since 2004 and earned their first trip to the College Football Playoff. 

The senior finishes his career with 160 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks, nine passes defended and four forced fumbles. He is already one of the projected stars of the draft process and and could ascend to the No. 1 overall pick with a strong combine. 

Here’s a little more insight on how Hutchinson rose to the top of NFL Draft boards this season, as well as a quick look at where the Wolverines go from here after losing such an elite talent on defense. 

Slow but steady

Hutchinson saw the field almost immediately as a freshman after arriving at Michigan in 2018 and became a key contributor by his sophomore…

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