The superstar pass rusher and potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft officially joins the PFF family with a four-episode podcast series in April.
Ahead of the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft, Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and Pro Football Focus are releasing a podcast called “HUTCH.” The four-episode pod series will focus on Hutchinson’s background, upbringing, early years wearing the Maize and Blue, and the Wolverines’ 2021 season that included a Big Ten title and a first-ever trip to the College Football Playoff.
PFF’s director of content, Austin Gayle, will serve as the host of the series, while Dave Sulfaro will be the series’ head producer. Terms of the deal between Hutchinson and Pro Football Focus were not disclosed.
The Michigan defensive end is a consensus top-five player on draft boards everywhere from CBS Sports to the Sporting News to Pro Football Network to Sports Illustrated and beyond. At Pro Football Focus, Hutchinson is the draft’s No. 1-ranked prospect overall.
“This is an Aidan-led project, he’s as interested in this as we are in creating his own platform and telling his own story,” said Gayle in an interview. “Our goal is to make sure this is a must-watch for Michigan fans, all college football fans and NFL fans, too. We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure this is a project that Aidan is proud of and PFF is proud of as well.”
One of the key elements of the podcast is Hutchinson’s desire to be 2022’s No. 1 overall pick. In the last two years of the draft, the first pick was practically a forgone conclusion before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took the podium to announce it. In 2020, the Cincinnati Bengals told LSU quarterback Joe Burrow they were going to select him before the draft began. The same can be said for Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence one year ago, who in some minds would have been the No. 1 overall pick in draft classes that preceded his own before Jacksonville ultimately came calling.
In this year’s draft, there isn’t a unanimous choice for the first pick, leaving the opportunity for Hutchinson to campaign for himself to the Jaguars, who once again hold the top choice. However, should he not be selected, there is still a bright side — Hutchinson is a homegrown Michigan man whose entire family is from the Wolverine state. With the second pick in the draft belonging to the Detroit Lions, there’s a chance to recreate the sort of local connection that Burrow was able to realize with the Bengals.
“There are a lot of wins no matter where he ends up. Going number one overall has been in this guy’s journal since he was 5-years-old. Going to the Detroit Lions is awesome too because his family is Michigan through and through,” said Gayle.
The opportunity with Hutchinson is one that PFF will eventually look to replicate. However, PFF isn’t looking too far down the road. Their current focus is on making the content as close to perfect as possible before deciding what the next steps are for moving forward with other athletes. “We want to really nail this opportunity with Aidan Hutchinson knowing that it is something we want to invest our resources in the future. We want to be a part of telling exclusive player stories that will go beyond 15-minute interviews that appear on the broadcast networks. We feel that making these guys the stars at PFF is a huge win.”
HUTCH will debut on PFF in April.