Detroit’s Hutchinson named Pepsi’s NFL Rookie of the Year

Hutchinson was the #2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrates after sacking Washington...
Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrates after sacking Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (11) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel)(Lon Horwedel | AP)
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 12:21 PM EST
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DETROIT (WILX) - From singing “Billie Jean” on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” to leading all rookies with 9.5 sacks for the season, Detroit Lions defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson was a fan favorite on and off the field, and a no-brainer to be named the NFL Rookie of the Year.

On Thursday, he walked away with the 2022 Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year Award.

“Such an honor to be named the 2022 Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year,” Hutchinson said in a Tweet. “To my teammates, coaches, family, friends, and most importantly the fans, your support means so much to me. Couldn’t have done it without you.”

Since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic, Hutchinson is the first rookie with at least nine sacks and three interceptions for the season. He nabbed the statistic in the Jan. 1 game against Chicago with less than 10 seconds remaining before the half, intercepting Bears’ QB Justin Fields.

He also intercepted Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers on Nov. 6, 2022, and had an interception just two weeks later against the New York Giants.

“For what we wanted him for, he’s everything we’ve wanted, man,” head coach Dan Campbell said of Hutchinson during a press conference. “I mean this guy’s a football player, and with the No. 2 pick in the draft, we got a freaking football-playing dude, man, who’s a high motor, and he’s versatile as hell.”

Hutchinson finished his rookie season with 51 total tackles, 9.5 sacks, 2 pass deflections, 3 interceptions, and 9 tackles for a loss. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for week 11 and was a two-time NFC Rookie of the Month (November 2022, December 2022-January 2023).

The University of Michigan graduate was one of two new defensive pieces for the Lions and the 2022-23 season. Paired with Malcolm Rodriguez, “Hutch” as he’s called energized the fan base and helped Detroit finish the season on a strong 9-8 finish, winning 8 of their last 10 games after a 1-6 start.

Hutchinson beat out fellow finalists Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints WR), Garrett Wilson (New York Jets WR), Tariq Woolen (Seattle Seahawks CB, Sauce Gardner (New York Jets CB who was considered a front-runner), and former Michigan State star Kenneth Walker (Seattle Seahawks RB).

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