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Jim Harbaugh’s rooting for Aidan Hutchinson to be drafted by Detroit Lions

“I hope he keeps playing right here in the great state of Michigan and we got him right down the road.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will forever be in former Michigan edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson’s corner.

Harbaugh believes Hutchinson, who will likely be drafted either first overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars or shortly after at the NFL Draft later this month, will be among the most impactful players in the pros.

“All those key performance indicators, I total them all up and out of that whole group — T.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Aidan Hutchinson, then J.J. Watt, then Khalil Mack, then Joey Bosa, then Nick Bosa. If you took all of their 40s, the height, the weight, that’s what you’re talkin’ in terms of the measurables,” Harbaugh said on the HUTCH podcast.

The All-American and Heisman runner-up set a Michigan record with 14 sacks in 2021, and Harbaugh says Hutchinson checks all the boxes that scouts are looking for.

“Any team that’s looking to draft a player, they’re really going off of three things. They’re going off of talent — which is production, intangibles, and measurables,” Harbaugh said. “They’re gonna be looking at a guy who checks every one of those boxes.”

If that Jaguars opt for someone other than Hutchinson with the No. 1 pick, there’s a team with the No. 2 pick that isn’t too far from where Hutchinson and his family live in Plymouth, Michigan — the Detroit Lions. This is the destination Harbaugh hopes Hutchinson will land at.

“He has earned to be the type of player that you build an entire defense around. Anybody who gets him is gonna be darn lucky to have him,” Harbaugh said. “I’m personally rooting for Detroit. I hope he keeps playing right here in the great state of Michigan and we got him right down the road.”

Hutchinson has previously said that his main focus in the NFL is going somewhere that he can win, but he also commented on the prospects of being drafted by the Lions, noting that it would make for a breezier transition to the big time.

“It would definitely be cool,” Hutchinson said earlier this year. “I’d be living close to home. It would definitely make the transition a bit easier to the NFL just being so close to home and close to my parents.”

The Lions were at Michigan’s pro day, and they surely have him high on their draft board — Detroit needs an edge-rusher, and it doesn’t get much better than Hutchinson in the 2022 NFL Draft.