This Sunday, the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the 2022 NFL Draft will be on the same field. No, Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson will not actually be on the field at the same time, since they are both defenders; but they will both be out there, taking on a team that in another world, could have been the team they ended up playing for.
For his part, Hutchinson seems pretty fired up about the opportunity. He was considered by many to be the top prospect in the class, but the Jacksonville Jaguars passed on him in favor of Walker, who was more of a fit for general manager Trent Baalke's athletic preferences.
"I guess my arms were just not quite long enough," Hutchinson said, regarding the Jags' decision to pass on him, per NFL.com. "I mean, we'll see if that inch or couple inches was the difference."
We'll obviously need to see a lot more than 11 games out of each player before we really know which of them was the "correct" pick at No. 1 overall, but so far this season, Hutchinson has registered 5.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, and 10 quarterback hits in his 11 games while Walker has 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and six hits in his.
Each player has been on the field for 80-plus percent of his team's defensive snaps, but neither unit has been all that stingy. Football Outsiders ranks the Lions 24th and the Jaguars 26th in DVOA, for example, while the Jags rank 24th and 15th in yards and points allowed, and the Lions rank 32nd in both categories.