Defensive rookie of the year: Aidan Hutchinson vs. Travon Walker

The 2022 NFL Draft was filled with defensive difference makers. The first 5 picks were all defensive players. The top two picks were Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchinson. Let’s take a look at the two defensive ends and see who has a better chance to win DROY and win you money.

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham (3) is sacked by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) during the first half of the NFL football exhibition Hall of Fame Game, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

We will start with the #1 overall pick Walker (+1000 DROY). A late riser in the draft process, Walker excelled as a run defender in college at Georgia. Walker profiles as a physical freak but only collected 9.5 sacks during his three year run at Georgia, he will be an elite run defender from the start of his NFL career but it may take him some time to develop a more advanced set of pass rushing moves.

Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson works out during an NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich., Saturday, May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Hutchinson (+600 DROY) went #2 overall to the Detroit Lions. The hometown hero had a dream senior season for the University of Michigan, collecting 14 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. Hutchinson is also an athletic marvel and wins many reps with pure determination and effort. He has extensive experience as a standup OLB which should help him transition to the NFL. He may run into some strength issues when going up against elite NFL tackles at first but he should still win consistently against lesser talents.

Hutchinson has better odds but will also be put in a better position to make and impact rushing the passer. If it takes Walker half a season to get more adept to rushing the passer the race may already be over. This is not to take anything away from the other skills Walker brings to the table but unfortunately stopping the run doesn’t brig home the hardware. My money is on Hutchinson.

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