Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson not concerned about arm length, but NFL teams might be after combine weigh-in

INDIANAPOLIS — Aidan Hutchinson stepped to the mic for his press conference here at the NFL Scouting Combine, then immediately faced a barrage of questions about his arm length right off the top.

He didn’t seem to like it very much.

“Um, yeah, there might be questions along that,” the star Michigan pass rusher said. “I guess we’ll see. But I’m not too worried about it. I’m very confident in my ability despite how long I am or whatever you say. So it doesn’t really matter to me.”

It might not matter to Hutchinson, who just set the Michigan single-season sack record, although it might to NFL teams. The reigning Heisman Trophy finalist weighed in at 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds on Saturday, but with a wingspan of just 32 1/8 inches. That was second-shortest among all the edge rushers at the combine, ahead of only Texas A&M’s Tyree Johnson (30 7/8), and would make him the shortest-armed pass rusher in Detroit.

Romeo Okwara measured in at 34 1/8 inches at his combine, while Trey Flowers was 34 2/8, Julian Okwara was 34 3/8 and Austin Bryant was 34 5/8.

The Lions hold the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, and while a quarterback (like Malik Willis) or safety (like Kyle Hamilton) could enter the picture, the club seems far more likely to use the pick to juice its long-suffering pass rush. Hutchinson is under heavy consideration for the pick, and could even be the leader because of his power, tenacity and never-ending motor. He’s a scheme fit for Detroit, which is moving to more four-man fronts next season, and culture fit too.

But Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux is in play as well, and while he might face more questions about his motor and love for football — which he categorically denies — he also has higher upside because he’s a more explosive athlete.

Thibodeaux, by the way, measured in at 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds with 33 1/8-inch arms. So he also won’t face the wingspan questions that Hutchinson surely will through this process, whether he likes it or not. He said he didn’t have to do anything to account for his arm length in college, and the production backs that up with authority. He just set the Michigan single-season sack record (14 sacks) and racked up 79 quarterback pressures overall.

But NFL teams will have to consider how much his body type will translate to the next level, where offensive linemen are bigger, more athletic and better technicians.

“I’ve been playing football for a long time, and I’m very confident in my ability,” Hutchinson said. “So whatever that pressure, that expectation, I know who I am. I know what kind of player I am. So that kind of calms the nerves a little bit.”

Hutchinson says he won’t participate in the bench press, but will do everything else at the combine. Edge rushers take the field at 4 p.m. today on NFL Network.

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