The 22 Most Influential NFL People This Season Includes

Bonus: Aidan Hutchinson, Detroit defensive end

One player on the list who’s not a quarterback, and I just had to get Hutchinson here. The reason is his importance—symbolically and in Xs-and-Os—to a hungry franchise. Hutchinson is a symbol of progress for a franchise that needs one in the worst way. He actually wants to play for the Lions. And the NFL, by putting the Lions on “Hard Knocks” this summer and awarding the city and the Lions the NFL Draft in 2023, is placing a bet that the Lions won’t be a laughingstock much longer.

Hutchinson is at the center of it. The most accomplished player at the highest level of college football last year, he and his family were in Vegas the night before the draft, and I told this story in my column: Hutchinson’s sister, Aria, said as the pre-draft pressure was getting to everyone in the family: “Please, please, please let him get picked by Detroit!” Think of that. When’s the last time someone has wanted a loved one to go to the Detroit Lions? Night Train Lane? Joe Schmidt? In the end, the Lions’ record will be more on Jared Goff than Aidan Hutchinson, but this franchise, and this region, needs the player and person that Hutchinson is.


Hutchenson is the Lions Kirk Gibson. Let’s hope he can become the emotional leader and clutch player Gibby was


I"ve made it known that I have no clue what to make of Hutch (oddly, I haven’t been called a "Hutch hater…not even once).

I think almost every guy on our team wants to be here, so I don’t think it’s as big a deal that Hutch wants to be here.

I will be pleasantly surprised if Hutch is as impactful as JWill. I expect JWill to be the most game changing of our new guys.

I would love to see Hutch turn into a perennial pro bowler, but that’s not what I’ve been reading. If hutch is as good as some of you guys think he is…We’re going to the SB SOON!

I love Hutch, don’t get me wrong. I’d be SO happy if the dude ended up being more impactful than Suh ever was…I just dont’ see it yet.

Keep in mind, I love the way he shows up, and love that he’s ours. I just don’t know how his talent translates to NFL. He will be good, and has a super-nice floor…I also think Dan will get his ceiling out of him (not hard to do with this guy).

I just honestly have no idea what his ceiling even is?


well he ticks all the boxes. Crazy athletic, came from a power program, was a team leader, high work ethic and had a ton of production, excels against the run and pass. He got the second highest single season grade PFF ever played. Higher than the grades of The Bosas, Garett, Bradley and Chubb


He’s a really big dude too. Hoping his height equates to some batted balls.
I can see hutch putting on a ton of strength next offseason and making a nice leap too. not sure what to make of his rookie campaign.

Loving his floor and think he will be good as well as smart.

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Well, he’s been beating up on Sewell and Decker in OTA’s.
No pads. I get it. He appears to be an extremely motivated sack machine.


Please…dear, sweet, tiny, baby Jesus…let this be true.

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Decker has been sidelined while he recovers from an injury:

Decker was one of a handful of Lions players who did not practice Thursday. He still is dealing with the residual from a foot injury he suffered in the Lions’ season-ending win over the Green Bay Packers in January, though he said his absence was precautionary and he would be playing if it was the regular season.

TE T.J. Hockenson
TE Garrett Griffin
LT Taylor Decker
EDGE Romeo Okwara
EDGE Josh Paschal
NT John Penisini

All but Penisini are coming off injuries that would limit their participation. All are expected to be at the mandatory minicamp this coming week, Penisini included.


I haven’t read that anywhere. He was beating up on some of our reserve Olineman.

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He’s pretty ripped already as he was a workout warrior and bulked up bigtime between his Jr and Sr years. I’m sure there are areas to continue working, but I for one, don’t expect a huge jump in his body mass, and that’s just based on some comments I read about his physique some time ago.


No doubt. I strongly believe he will still get considerably stronger. Has to do with muscular maturity and age.

I was a young bodybuilder → The year between late 22 years old and late 23…people were accusing me of taking steroids. Year after that, not quite as much growth, but far more than I had any year other than the one I mentioned.

I also know many people have similar experiences to varying degrees.

I really think he’s gonna get stronger.

Yeah, I saw it on YouTube a couple days ago, but, yeah, I forgot that Decker has been sidelined.
I was repeating someone else’s bs.
My bad.

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