Aidan Hutchinson in the driver’s seat to go No. 1 in the 2022 NFL Draft

Aidan Hutchinson #DL31 of Michigan. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Aidan Hutchinson #DL31 of Michigan. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars hadn’t shown signs they wanted to keep left tackle Cam Robinson but right when it looked like he was going to become a free agent, they threw a curveball at everyone and applied the franchise on him. With Robinson staying in Jacksonville for at least one more year, the Jags don’t have a clear need at left tackle, which could pave the way for Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson to be the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Just a few days ago, it looked like the top pick would come down to either Hutchinson, who turned heads at the Scouting Combine, North Carolina State left tackle Ikem Ekwonu but circumstances changed when the Jaguars tagged Robinson. This doesn’t mean Jacksonville won’t take an offensive lineman first overall, just that their chances of drafting one won’t be as high as they were a few days ago.

After all, the Jaguars can take Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal and have him either line up at left tackle or right tackle. The Florida native has previously played both spots, so it’s possible that Jacksonville will keep Robinson at left tackle for at least one more year with the intention of having Neal take over the right tackle or left guard spot. This scenario would have a ripple effect though.

If the Jags’ coaching staff move Neal to right tackle, Jawaan Taylor’s future with the team would be in question. Would they keep him as a backup? Trade him? Also, there’s Walker Little, who showed promise as a rookie. What will happen to him if the Jags draft Neal, would they kick him to the right side? Keep in mind that these are just conjectures and there’s no way to tell if the Jags will take an offensive line or Aidan Hutchinson first overall. Also, moving down a few spots remains a possibility.

Aidan Hutchinson is the favorite but don’t rule out trading the No. 1 pick.

Although Aidan Hutchinson’s arm length didn’t have optimal measurements, he had an impressive outing at the NFL Scouting Combine and solidified his spot as a top 3 pick in the draft. Nevertheless, he isn’t guaranteed to go No. 1, at least not to the Jaguars.

Mike Giardi of NFL Media appeared in NFL Now and reported that at least two clubs that will pick in the first half of the first round think the Jags will try to move down a few spots in the draft. If that’s the final outcome, taking Hutchinson becomes unlikely for them but whoever gets the No. 1 pick — we’re looking at you Detriot Lions —  will have a shot at selecting the Michigan native.

The draft is still weeks away and many things could happen in the upcoming days. Not many thought the Jaguars would keep Cam Robinson but that’s exactly what they did. Will Jacksonville trade the first overall pick? Will they choose Evan Neal or Aidan Hutchinson? All are viable scenarios, so the best thing to do is to expect the unexpected when the Jaguars are on the clock on Draft Night.

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