Jaguars should be alright with Aidan Hutchinson skipping workout
Based on all the moves the Jacksonville Jaguars made in free agency, it seems like Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson will be their choice with the top overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. They were going to have an up-close look at a workout they had scheduled but he called it off. All things considered, this isn’t a bad thing and the Jags should feel comfortable with his decision.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated says that Hutchinson had planned to work out privately for the Jaguars but opted to cancel it after seeing teammate David Ojabo tear his Achilles at Michigan’s Pro Day. Hutchinson’s agent, Mike McCartney, notes that Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke was understanding and “hopes others will be” as well. Moving forward, McCartney will make sure Hutchinson and North Carolina offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu avoid getting injured.
"On top of that, McCartney said he’s limiting travel for Hutchinson and another client, NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu, leading up to the combine. Both will take trips to visit the Jaguars, Texans and the two New York teams (the Jets and Giants were accommodating in setting up dates for those guys in tandem), and see the teams they’re local to (Lions for Hutchinson, Panthers for Ekwonu), and that’s it."
Hutchinson has been among the top prospects in this year’s draft and up until a few weeks ago, it looked like either he or Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal were going to be the Jaguars’ choice at No. 1. But things have changed and left tackle Cam Robinson is firmly entrenched as the starting left tackle after getting tagged and Neal may no longer be a viable option with the top pick. In fact, draft analyst Mel Kiper sees him landing with the New York Giants at No. 5 and the Jags taking Hutchinson with the top pick.
The Jaguars already have everything they need from Aidan Hutchinson.
NFL clubs are always looking for an edge and if they can learn something new about Hutchinson or someone else, they will look for it. However, they weren’t going to gain much from watching the former Michigan Wolverine work out for them. He tested well in the NFL Scouting Combine and the last thing they want is him getting injured.
Preparing for the draft takes months and the Jaguars’ scouting department has invested plenty of time sorting out all their big board. Hutchison has most likely been at the top or close to it for a while. Given that Jacksonville holds the number one selection, they don’t have to worry about other teams getting in front of them and calling dibs on whoever they plan to choose. If they had the fourth or fifth overall pick, they might not get a shot at taking their preferred prospect but that won’t be the case in 2022.
Now, there’s a chance the Jaguars will shop the first overall pick and while it shouldn’t be ruled out, it doesn’t seem like they will. While it would be great to amass extra selections, they would have to find a trade partner and land in a spot where they can take a difference-maker.
There’s still plenty of time before the 2022 draft takes place but barring any meaningful developments, they should go ahead and write Hutchinson’s name on the card they will be handing when they’re on the clock.