In a 2022 NFL Draft marked by unpredictability, Aidan Hutchinson was viewed as one of the most polished and secure selections.
So far, in the eyes of Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, the No. 2 overall pick has been as advertised.
"His approach is everything we thought it would be," Campbell told reporters Thursday amid organized team activities. "He's in the meeting rooms, he's attentive, he's wanting to learn, he's taking it all in, he's doing what's asked of him. And then it's trial by fire, like the rest of them, 'I gotta learn from my mistakes.' He's been all business."
After the Jacksonville Jaguars spent the No. 1 overall selection on Travon Walker, Campbell and the Lions wasted no time in taking the University of Michigan product.
In 2021, Hutchinson keyed a Wolverines resurgence when he posted 14 sacks (second in the Power 5), was the Lombardi Award (nation's top lineman) winner and the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
It's seemingly a no-brainer that Hutchinson will start right out of the gates, but Campbell underscored that the Lions weren't rushing anything where their first-rounder is concerned.
At 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, Hutchinson has the strength to transfer quickly to the pro level, but there's room for growth in that aspect, according to his coach. Nonetheless, Campbell believes Hutchinson is as close as it gets to a surefire success story.
"You can never tell for sure, but I would say this -- it's one of the reasons why we wanted to pick this guy, is his DNA says he's going to do everything that he can to be successful," Campbell said. "And he's got enough ability and enough strength, he certainly does, to go out there and help us and help us win some games. Now, when will that be? How fast will that be? I don't know. I know this, we're not going to put him out there until he's ready. He's going to have to show it to us. But we'll see how it goes. Again, we're Day Two into OTAs, so."
Getting Hutchinson up to speed in the Motor City could very well be accelerated by who he's facing each day in practice.
Hutchinson will square off with Lions offensive tackles Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell, Detroit's first-rounder last year, on a daily basis. Hardly an enviable position for any defensive end, but in Hutchinson's case it should make for some most valuable experience.
"I think this is where Hutch is gonna have a big advantage, is the fact that he's gonna have to go against Sewell and Decker every day," Campbell said. "I think that's huge. I think that'll play more into his development than a lot of other things. So, I feel like he's going to be going against quality tackles, so that in and of itself is, I think, can [accelerate] his progression."
It's too early for pronouncements on how Hutchinson will fare in his rookie season, but so far he's everything his head coach expected him to be.