AP Photo/Steve Luciano

Potential No. 1 NFL Draft Pick Aidan Hutchinson Does 28 Bench Press Reps at Pro Day

Tim Daniels

Aidan Hutchinson, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, was a limited participant in the University of Michigan's pro day on Friday.

The 21-year-old defensive end stood mostly on his strong results from the scouting combine in early March, which included a 4.74-second 40-yard dash and a 36-inch vertical jump.

He did take part in the bench press—an event he skipped in Indianapolis—completing 28 reps:

Hutchinson has emerged as a strong candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who own the first selection for the second straight year. They took quarterback Trevor Lawrence to kick off the 2021 draft.

The edge-rusher enjoyed a breakout senior season with the Wolverines. He recorded 62 total tackles, 14 sacks, three passes defended and two forced fumbles in 14 appearances to capture the Ted Hendricks Award as college football's top defensive end.

While it took that standout year for the Michigan native to enter the conversation atop the draft class, it's a rise he always expected to happen.

"I think, in my head, I always knew it," Hutchinson told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated after the combine. "In my head I always viewed myself like that. ... Now everyone sees me at No. 1, but I've been seeing myself at No. 1 for a very long time now."

His terrific on-field performance in 2021 combined with his high-end athleticism, as showcased by Kent Lee Platte of Pro Football Network, makes him an ideal prospect at one of the NFL's most important positions.

Other first-pick candidates for the Jags include Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu, Georgia defensive end Travon Walker and Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Hutchinson, who finished second in Heisman Trophy voting to Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, appears to have the inside track, though.

He'd likely arrive as a Day 1 starter to bolster a Jacksonville defense that ranked 27th in the league with just 32 sacks last season. The unit also finished 28th in scoring defense (26.9 points allowed per game).

It could also jump-start a fruitful draft for the Jaguars, who own an NFL-high 12 picks in the event, which gets underway April 28.

   

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