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Lions rookie Aidan Hutchinson impresses early

While it is early in the process, Detroit Lions’  first-round pick Aidan Hutchinson seems to making the transition to the pros smoothly.

“Here is my initial read: everything that we thought we were getting shows up, not just in practice but in the meeting room also. … He has this quickness that is unbelievable,’’ defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said.

Naturally all eyes were on the rookie defensive end who impressed on the third day of OTAs on Thursday. He notched a pair of sacks during two-minute drills. Again, there is a long way to go, but so far so good.

Hutch was known for his work ethic at Michigan and he lost none of that on his way east to Allen Park.

“Just watch him, he’s always working. It’s that relentless attitude you guys see when he was at Michigan that made him so successful and it’s natural for him,’’ Glenn said. “There’s no doubt in my mind this player is  going to be a really really good player for us. I’m executed to see once we get in training camp and get in the games for us.’’

Hutchinson will work daily against the Lions’ offensive line, which if it remains healthy, is solid. Left tackle Taylor Decker, who is sitting out while his foot heals, said on Thursday that it’s the most talented line since he’s been in Detroit. 

Coach Dan Campbell expects Hutchinson’s biggest transition will be the physical part — adapting to the speed of the game and the types of tackles he will face.

“I’ve said before this is where I think Hutch is going to have a big advantage is he’s going to have to go against (Penei) Sewell and Decker every day. I think that’s huge. I think that will play more into his development than a lot of other things … I think it can excel his progression,’’ Campbell said.

Hutchinson is 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds and Campbell is happy with is strength but sees better things ahead.

“He’s got a ton of room to get more powerful, if you would. His strength is good enough to go out and compete no problems there, but yet, man, there’s still a ton of meat on the bone with him. That’s pretty exciting,’’ Campbell said.

The interview with Campbell was prior to Thursday’s OTA session. 

“You can never tell for sure but I would say (strength) is one of the reasons we wanted to pick this guy — his DNA says he’s going to do everything that he can to be successful and he’s got enough ability and enough strength, he certainly does, to go out and help us and help us win some games,’’ Campbell said. “How fast will that be? I don’t know. I know this we’re not going to put him out there until he’s ready. He’s going to have to show that to us. We’ll see how it goes.’’

Lions rookie Aidan Hutchinson continues to impress as minicamp ends

Aidan Hutchinson still isn’t sure that it’s set in that he is indeed a member of the Detroit Lions.

“It’s just the weirdest thing, thinking back to when I grew up. It’s all weird but I’m rolling with the punches,’’ Hutchinson said on Thursday, the final day of the Lions’ three-day minicamp.

Still since the draft he has continued to impress coach Dan Campbell.

“I think he’s been all business. I told my wife this last night, what’s great about him is he’s quietly getting better right in front of us,’’ coach Dan Campbell said on Thursday. “He doesn’t say anything, he listens. He’s like a sponge in there, he absorbs information, he watches how things are done and the way coaches want them done. Then he’s got a motor and he goes and he learns and gets better every day. You can see it. I love that about him — everyday there’s growth in front of us.’’

Thursday was the last day of work for the veterans before they report for training camp in late July.  However the rookies (including Hutchinson) and developmental players will get more hands-on and one-on-one work with the coaches next week.

“It’s been great the whole camp, I’ve learned a lot, I feel like I have this defense down almost,’’ said Hutchinson who still lives with is parents in Plymouth. “I’m definitely trying to make things muscle-memory at this point.’

He seems to take the jump from college ball at Michigan to the NFL in stride..

“It’s a different tempo, a different game, to be honest with you, compared to college but one I’m getting used to, I’m feeling good with so far,’’ Hutchinson said. “t’s just the pace of the game, the plays you get, the tempo, it’s a split second faster, it’s different in those ways.’’

Hutchinson, the second overall draft pick, said it’s been great to pick the brains of the veterans on the team and looks forward to going up against the offensive line when training camp starts in late July.

“I think we’ve got one of the best offensive lines in the league if you look at all five starters, those guys are studs,’’ Hutchinson said. “Getting up against them, especially when we get to camp with one-on-ones and team reps against those guys, I think it’s super beneficial to me. When I practice against them here.’’

Next week will be different without the veterans. Campbell looks forward to it.

“I kind of like this time of year. The rookies come into rookie minicamp and really feel great about themselves.then the vets come in and they realize they’re not as good as they think they are and they’ve got a lot to learn,’’ Campbell said. “Then they watch how it’s done, then they begin to grow and they start learning they’re still going to ask questions. They’re the young guys in the room … Now that they’ve seen how it’s done, they’ve had time to sit in the room with the vets, once they go away now you start getting those questions. You get more one-on-one and they get a little jolt in their development.’’

Lions confident CB Jeff Okudah will be ready to go for training camp

Perhaps one of the happiest Lions to be participating — on a limited basis — in OTAs is cornerback Jeff Okudah who tore his Achilles tendon in September’s season opener and was forced to miss the final 16 games.

“I’m enjoying to the fullest extent you can enjoy something. For me, I couldn’t walk to the restroom in September, I had to retrain my whole body,’’ Okudah said after Thursday’s practice. “To be able to be out here and do drills, whatever I can do, is a blessing because there wasn’t a guarantee I’d be out here so I’m taking in everything and enjoying every moment.’’

Okudah won’t exactly say if he’ll be ready for training camp in July.

 “I’ve thought about that question for a long time,’’ he said. “The best way to describe it is I’m going to be ready when it’s time to be ready. I’m confident I’ll be ready when it’s time to be ready.’’

Got that?

Lions coach Dan Campbell takes it a step farther. He does expect the cornerback, the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, to be ready to go for camp.

“I’m very encouraged. We know the surgery went well and just the rehab process, like I feel really good about this, just where he’s come and where the injury is at. I feel like he’s right where he needs to be,’’ Campbell said on Thursday.

Okudah and Campbell both mentioned the importance of being in the right mental frame of mind.

The cornerback talked to athletes who had been through Achilles surgery to find out what to expect.

“They gave me the confidence that the Achilles will be the least of your worries. It will be about getting back mentally and taking care of the rest of your body,’’ Okudah said.

He has been attacking rehab since he got the foot in an orthopedic boot in November.

“We’re not worried about Jeff’s movement skills. He’s going to be able to move. You watch him with his footwork and the things he’s doing, he can do all that. That is real important right now, just continue his growth mentally. Him to be able to get the walk-through reps and then just to get the film study, it’s big for him,’’ Campbell said. “So it’s good to have him here. Then when the time’s right, to go full speed when we get him in camp, he’ll be ready.’’

Okudah, who played in nine games his rookie season, said it has not been hard to stay mentally focused through the rehab.

“My drive just took over. I’ve been hungry like I haven’t ate in years,’’ Okudah said. “That hunger has been inside of me since the injury, even before the injury, so I’ve had that feeling for probably two years, that hunger. I’m ready to go out there and play to the best of my ability.’’

The 23-year-old cornerback said his mental state prior to the injury helped him be in a good place.

“Obviously when you have a big injury you’re going to be down for a little bit, but being around people who have love for you,’’ Okudah said. “They picked me back up, to be here today to be in a great mental spot. I’m blessed.’’

No one happier about Aaron Glenn’s return to Lions than Dan Campbell

Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn thinks he has the best job in the world working for coach Dan Campbell. And no one is happier than Campbell that Glenn has returned for this coming season.

Glenn interviewed in the spring for the head coaching opening with the New Orleans Saints but they instead opted for Dennis Allen.

That’s when Campbell breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“When all of this was going on with New Orleans, I thought that he was going to be gone. I was going to be happy as hell for him, I would. But the thought of losing him, I just had this feeling like I was going to be walking around without any pants on. Not having A.G. — there is a comfort level,’’ Campbell said on Thursday.

Glenn laughed when told about the no-pants comment.

“Well, we want to make sure he keeps his pants on. He’s one of my closest friends, I’m sure we’ll have some conversations about that,’’ Glenn said.

Glenn was involved in the NFL’s diversity coaching program in Atlanta last week where he got a chance to talk with NFL owners perhaps for future employment.

“I have a tremendous amount of trust and confidence in A.G. he is more than worthy of being a head coach, he’s more than qualified to be a head coach in this league. We’re fortunate to have him as our D.C.,’’ Campbell said.

While he wanted the Saints head coaching job, Glenn was excited to remain in Detroit.

“I think I have the best job in the world, I really do. I’m working for an outstanding head coach, I’m working for an outstanding owner, an outstanding president, with really good people in the building to work with,’’ Glenn said. “I want to be the best coordinator Detroit has ever had, I’m going to stand by that and continue to say that because I believe that in my heart. If the head coaching deal happens, it happens but for right now I think I have an outstanding job. I really do.’’