The Detroit Lions were one of the surprises of the NFL this past season.
After finishing 2021 with a 3-13-1 record, the Lions saw their record improve to 9-8 in 2022.
One of the main reasons why they were much improved is because of their rookie edge rusher.
Detroit selected edge rusher, Aidan Hutchinson, second overall in the 2022 NFL draft.
His great rookie season was good enough to crown him Pepsi Rookie of the Year.
Check out the top 10 plays from your @Pepsi Rookie of the Year, @aidanhutch97‼️
Visit https://t.co/2dJ93liyHk for more highlights. pic.twitter.com/PHNq8aBdqT
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) February 9, 2023
Hutchinson had 9.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss, 15 QB hits, and three interceptions.
In a strong rookie draft class of defensive players, Hutchinson winning this award is impressive.
Now that Hutchinson has won this award, it will be interesting to see who takes home AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The top contenders for that award other than Hutchinson are Sauce Gardner and Tariq Woolen.
Both Gardner and Woolen are cornerbacks who played at an elite level this season.
Gardner was named first-team all-pro and his 20 passes defended this season led the league.
While Woolen’s six interceptions were tied for first in the NFL.
The wave of rookies performing at a high level in this first season is very impressive.
Even players like Woolen who were picked in the fifth round, have immediate impacts in year one.
It seems likely that Hutchinson will finish second in the AP defensive rookie of the year.
But, make no mistake about it the Lions should be thrilled with what they saw from their rookie last year.
He will continue to play a large impact as they hope to end their playoff drought in 2023.NEXT: Aidan Hutchinson Takes Home An Impressive Honor