Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux? Both were the subject of conversation for Detroit Lions fans. With the Lions holding the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, many fans presumed they’d draft one.
And they did. The Lions swiftly selected Hutchinson, drafting the EDGE rusher they needed. But what if he wasn’t available? What if the Jaguars grabbed Hutchinson with the first pick?
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer has the answer.
Per his sources, the Lions would’ve selected Georgia’s Travon Walker at No. 2 if Hutchinson wasn’t on the board. Walker, 21, ultimately went first overall to the Jaguars. And on paper, it’s not a bad pick. Hutchinson, Joshua Paschal, and Walker notched the top three highest athleticism scores for edge rushers at the combine.
And grabbing a superior athlete at the position appeared to be the Lions prerogative, as they drafted two of the three mentioned names. But what if Walker was available? If the Lions had drafted him, would that have been the right pick?
Since none of these players have played an NFL snap, it isn’t fair to say. Walker could wind up being the best in his draft class. In the same breath, Hutchinson and Thibodeaux could fail to meet expectations.
For now, though, examine what’s on paper.
Hutchinson was the leader and best player on the team during his last season at Michigan. His accolades were endless. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist, First Team All-Big Ten, and earned multiple awards for being the nation’s top defensive end. As for Thibodeaux, like Hutchinson, he was a unanimous All-American last season. Additionally, he was First Team All-Pac-12. Thibodeaux has freakish power with an array of moves. He’s going to get to the quarterback and punish him.
Both Hutchinson and Thibodeaux were the best players on their team’s defense. In Walker’s case, an argument can be made that he isn’t. He was definitely a big piece to Georgia winning the National Championship. That can’t be disputed. Despite that, if the Lions selected him with the No. 2 overall pick, if he were there, fans would’ve labeled it “Same Ole Lions.”
Fortunately for the Lions and their fanbase, the Jaguars removed the Lions chance from drafting Travon Walker.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.