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Friday, May 20, 2022

2022 NFL Draft l Hutchinson lands close to home with Lions

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on the NFL draft.

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Aidan Hutchinson seems set up for a smooth transition in the NFL, playing for his hometown Detroit Lions whose training facility is a 30-minute drive from his parents’ house.

“I may be living in the basement,” he joked Friday in Allen Park, Michigan.

Detroit drafted the former Michigan and Dearborn Divine Child defensive end with the No. 2 pick Thursday night and welcomed him, his parents and two sisters back to the Motor City less than 24 hours later.

“It feels like a dream,” his mother, Melissa Hutchinson said. “We would’ve acclimated to wherever he was, but Detroit is special because he’s a hometown boy from grade-school football, high school, college, and now he gets to stay home with the Lions.”

Aidan Hutchinson was raised in nearby Plymouth, Michigan, and played high school football about five minutes from the facility he will train and practice in as an NFL player.

“To think I’m a Lion, it’s like a wild dream,” he said. “I’m sure one of these days it’s going to hit me.”

The Lions have taken a lot of hits over the years, advancing only once in the playoffs since winning the 1957 NFL title and that lone postseason victory was three decades ago.

Hutchinson remembers the team’s 0-16 season in 2008, the low point of a long-suffering franchise.

“Not a ton of great memories,” he said.

Detroit is attempting another rebuild, hoping general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell can make all the right moves for a team that has averaged just four wins over the past four years.

The Lions went into the NFL draft with an extra first-round pick, acquired as part of the Matthew Stafford trade with the Los Angeles Rams, and used the asset to gamble in Las Vegas on a player they coveted.

Detroit moved way up in the opening round to draft Jameson Williams at No. 12, giving up the last pick in the first round, No. 32 overall and a third-round pick for the Alabama wide receiver and a slot in the middle of the second round.

“If we have the conviction and we have the buy-in, we know that we’ll be aggressive and go get that player,” Holmes said. “There’s not a lot of them, but fortunately Jameson was one.”

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New Seattle Seahawks left tackle Charles Cross says he’s betting on himself by choosing to not have an agent to begin his NFL career.

Cross was selected with the No. 9 pick in the first round by the Seahawks and was introduced at the team’s facility on Friday. Cross said he’s created a team around him to help with business decisions — and specifically highlighted his business manager Saint Omni who was with him on Friday — but that team doesn’t include an agent.

“I just had to bet on myself,” Cross said. “Bet on myself and save some money in the long run.”

Cross said he spoke with a couple of former Mississippi State teammates who have chosen to represent themselves in the NFL and that helped solidify his decision.

“Just getting their input and insight on it really helped me make my decision. I feel like I have a great team around me,” Cross said.

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Going into Round 2, the Big 12 is still waiting for its first player to be drafted.

The conference was the only one in the Power Five with no first-round picks. It was the second straight year the Big 12 was shut out.

Prior to 2021, the conference had at least one first-rounder every year since it formed in 1996 as a merger of the Big Eight and Southwest Conferences.

Among the Big 12 players in line to be selected in the second round are running back Breece Hall of Iowa State, safety Jalen Pitre of Baylor and defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey, edge rusher Nik Bonitto and linebacker Brian Asamoah, all of Oklahoma.

The Big 12 had 22 players drafted last year. First to go was Oklahoma State offensive lineman Teven Jenkins, picked 39th overall by Chicago.

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ROUND 1

The first round of the NFL draft began and ended with the selections of former University of Georgia defenders.

The Minnesota Vikings drafted safety Lewis Cine with the final pick of the first round which began with Jacksonville selecting edge rusher Travon Walker.

In between, former Georgia defenders Jordan Davis went to the Eagles at No. 10 and Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt were selected by the Green Bay Packers with picks 22 and 28, respectively.

The Bulldogs won the national championship on the strength of their defense.

The previous record was four defenders taken from the same school in the first round in 2004 (Miami) and 2006 (Florida State).

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The Green Bay Packers have become the first team in the common draft era ever to select two players from the same school in the first round.

The Packers selected former University of Georgia teammates Quay Walker with the 22nd pick and Devonte Wyatt with the 28th selection.

Four members of the national champion Bulldogs defense have been selected in the first round, tying for the most ever.

Former Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker was the first overall pick by Jacksonville and ex-Bulldogs defensive tackle Jordan Davis was the 13th overall pick.

The other schools that had four defensive players selected in the first round are the University of Miami in 2004 and Florida State University in 2006.

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The New York Jets are loading up on first-round draft picks.

They moved up to No. 26 in a trade with the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night and selected Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson II.

The Jets also selected former University of Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner with the fourth overall pick and Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson with the 10th overall pick.

Johnson had 70 tackles, including 18 for loss and a dozen tackles for Florida State last season. He was part of the University of Georgia’s loaded defense until transferring to the Seminoles in 2021.

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Three members of Georgia’s defense that led the Bulldogs to the national championship have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft so far.

The Green Bay Packers selected linebacker Quay Walker at No. 22 sandwiched around picks of Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie by the Chiefs at 21 and cornerback Kaiir Elam of Florida by the Bills at No. 23.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker with the top overall pick and the Philadelphia Eagles drafted Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis at No. 13.

The most defensive players selected from one school is four set by the University of Miami in 2004 and tied by Florida State two years later.

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Finally, a quarterback has been selected in the 2022 NFL draft.

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected University of Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall selection Thursday night.

The Steelers were in the market for a quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger retired after last season.

Pickett set school records with 12,303 yards passing and 81 touchdowns, but his hand size — he measured 8 5/8 inches at his pro day after measuring 8 1/2 inches at the NFL combine — concerned some teams.

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For the first time ever, six wide receivers have been selected in the top 20 picks of the first round.

The latest are Penn State’s Jahan Dotson to Washington at No. 16 and Arkansas’ Treylon Burks to Tennessee at No. 18.

The Titans traded former Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to the 18th pick.

Before that, the Texans selected Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green at No. 15, Baltimore took Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton at No. 14 and Philadelphia selected Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis with the 13th pick.

Picks 10, 11 and 12 were all pass catchers, starting with Garrett Wilson to the New York Jets at No. 10. USC’s Drake London was the first wide receiver off the board when the Falcons selected him with the eighth overall pick.

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There’s a run on wide receivers in the NFL draft.

Picks 10, 11 and 12 were all pass catchers, starting with Garrett Wilson to the New York Jets at No. 10. His skills on sideline passes, plus breakaway speed and an ability to find the end zone all should help a young offense.

Wilson’s Ohio State teammate Chris Olave went next to the Saints after New Orleans swapped picks with Washington, which got New Orleans’ pick at No. 16.

The Lions moved up to 12 as they swapped picks with Minnesota and they selected Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams, who played with Olave and Wilson in 2020 at Ohio State before transferring to the Crimson Tide.

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will visit Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 15 in the first game on Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” package.

The Week 2 matchup between AFC West rivals was announced on Thursday during the first round of the NFL draft.

Amazon will pay $1 billion a season to carry the games for 11 years. Prime Video will carry 15 regular-season and one preseason game. The league announced last week that the complete schedule will be released on May 12. However, international games will be revealed on May 4 with other notable matchups being announced the week of May 9.

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Seattle has addressed issues on its offensive line with Mississippi tackle Charles Cross at ninth overall in the first round of the NFL draft.

With good size and length at 6-foot-5, 310, Cross is considered by some scouts the best pass blocker in this draft. The Seahawks like to emphasize the run and probably will need to with quarterback Russell Wilson now in Denver, but Cross is a quick learner.

The Jets used the 10th spot to add to their receiving group with Garrett Wilson of Ohio State. His skills on sideline passes, plus breakaway speed and an ability to find the end zone all should help a young offense.

Wilson caught 23 touchdown passes in 33 games with 19 starts.

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Receiver Drake London of Southern California, built like a basketball player at 6-foot-5, 210, but truly a football guy, has been taken eighth overall by Atlanta.

The Falcons, who traded veteran quarterback Matt Ryan to Indianapolis in this offseason, are weak at wideout. London joins pass-catching tight end Kyle Pitts, Atlanta’s first choice of 2021, in offering versatility and a wide catch radius.

Not considered a deep threat, he could wind up often in the slot. London had his ’21 season shortened by a right ankle fracture.

He is the first receiver taken in what is considered a very deep group at the position.

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Evan Neal, a mammoth 6-foot-7, 335-pounder who has played both tackle positions at Alabama, is the second opening-round pick by the Giants. He’s likely to fit right in with a line that has been a weakness in New York for years.

Neal improved throughout his stay with the Crimson Tide, and his explosion off the snap is exemplary. He started 40 games and missed only one in his three-year career, which ended as an All-American.

He joins edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon, whom the Giants took fifth overall.

The Giants got this spot in a trade last year with Chicago, which took quarterback Justin Fields.

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North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu, considered the premier blocker in this draft, has been selected sixth in the first round by quarterback-hungry Carolina.

He is the first offensive player chosen. It’s the first draft since 1991 that no player on offense went in the top five.

Using long arms and mobility at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, Ekwonu has been a team leader for the Wolfpack. He should start immediately at tackle for the Panthers — and whomever is their starting QB.

Nicknamed “Ickey” after former Bengals running back Ickey Woods by a youth football coach, Ekwonu can get too aggressive at times and had 10 penalties in his career. He probably had three times as many pancake blocks.

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Edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oregon will be bolstering the pass rush for the New York Giants after being chosen fifth overall in the NFL draft.

Thibodeaux, whose burst off the ball is spectacular, is the fifth straight defensive player taken at the top of these selections. The 6-foot-5, 258-pound mainstay of the Ducks regressed a bit since a terrific freshman season, and dealt with injuries.

But New York, which needs help on the offensive line, saw an opportunity for a disrupter on defense knowing there are plenty of blockers still available.

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Ahmad Gardner is bringing the Sauce to the Big Apple.

The Cincinnati cornerback, a major reason the Bearcats broke through into the College Football Playoff last season, has been selected fourth overall by the New York Jets. He wore a brash bejeweled necklace proclaiming his nickname, and even an accessorized chain with a bejeweled sauce bottle.

“I’m the best cornerback in this draft,” Gardner noted this week. He went second behind LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr., but the Jets certainly liked him, knowing Gardner did not allow a TD reception in his three-year college career.

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Derek Stingley Jr., yet another outstanding defensive back from LSU, has been selected third overall by the Houston Texans.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Stingley, who excels in man coverage, was an All-American as a freshman, but injuries, including to his foot in 2021, led to lesser numbers last season.

Still, the grandson of former Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley, who was paralyzed in a 1978 preseason game, has been a coveted cornerback throughout this draft process.

And the Texans need help everywhere.

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Edge rusher Travon Walker of national champion Georgia, a dynamic playmaker combining speed and athleticism, is the first overall pick in the NFL draft by Jacksonville.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Walker, who has some raw elements to his game but an extremely high ceiling for his skills, joins former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence as the second straight top overall selection by the Jaguars.

Walker, one of several Bulldogs likely to be chosen in the opening round, was a one-year starter whose production (13 tackles for loss and 9 1/2 sacks) doesn’t jump out because he was part of a deep rotation at Georgia. His talent level certainly impressed the Jaguars, the NFL’s worst team the past two years.

Commissioner Roger Goodell began the proceedings by estimating more than 100,000 fans were on hand at the theater built specifically for the draft. Walker was not in Las Vegas.

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says the league’s competition committee has pondered an NBA-like lottery system for its annual draft but he likes it just the way it is.

In a draft-night interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, host Pat Kirwan asked the commissioner if the league has ever considered a lottery system.

Goodell replied: “Yeah, the competition committee talks about it on a … regular basis. I haven’t heard it in the last couple years, but I never say never about any of those things. It may come a time where we think it’s appropriate.”

Goodell emphasized that the league believes the draft is working fine just the way it is with teams picking in reserve order of finish from the previous season.

Goodell says the NFL’s 32 teams are “not into tanking” and that the “league’s never been more competitive.”

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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