If Aidan Hutchinson is ever fitted for a gold jacket in Canton, he will remember Monday, April 25, 2022 as one of the great days of his life. Or even if he just makes a Pro Bowl. For that is the day he learned that he will likely avoid one of the biggest howitzer rounds in the NFL — life as a Jacksonville Jaguar.

Monday is the day that Georgia’s Travon Walker displaced Hutchinson at all major sports books as the favorite to be the top pick in Thursday night’s NFL Draft. Walker wasn’t even a consensus top-5 player on Georgia’s stacked defense, but that’s Jaguars football for ya.

Jacksonville fans, who deserve better than this, will rightfully point out that in all likelihood Hutchinson will now be a Detroit Lion. And if there were ever a case of the pot calling the kettle black, this would be it.

Detroit: Where stars are wasted

When you measure both franchises from a historical perspective, it’s no contest.

The Lions are the NFL’s ultimate black hole.

The 2 best offense players in team history, Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, retired early rather than play another down for Detroit. Matthew Stafford was traded out of mercy — and immediately won a Super Bowl.

This incompetence stretches back decades. The Lions ran off their best quarterback before Stafford, Bobby Layne, in 1958. They have bumbled around ever since.

It’s fitting that the 2 longest game-winning field goals in NFL history both took place against the Lions — 51 years apart. That’s how long Detroit has been mixing a cocktail of incompetence and bad luck.

The Jaguars, on the other hand, were the model expansion franchise in league history upon their start-up.

The Jags won more playoff games in their second season (2) than the Lions have in the past 30. Which means that Detroit hasn’t won a playoff game the entire time the Jacksonville Jaguars have existed.

But like Mark McGwire, we’re not here to talk about the past. This is about the future.

And right now, it’s brighter in Detroit.

General Motors isn’t Detroit’s best GM

For the first time in ages, Detroit has the appearance of competence in its front office. Jacksonville has Trent Baalke.

Last year was Brad Holmes’ first draft as Lions GM, and it provided a solid organizational foundation. Detroit’s first pick was an offensive lineman (Penei Sewell) and the next 2 were defensive tackles (Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill).

This is the blueprint of the 1970s Steelers, 1985 Bears and 1990s Cowboys. You still have to draft the right guys. And find stars at the skill positions. But Holmes’ head is in the right place.

Adding a pass-rushing end like Hutchinson fits perfectly into that philosophy. And for it to be a Michigan kid is an absolute coup.

This is not unlike Ohio native Joe Burrow falling into Cincinnati’s lap in 2020. On the field, Hutchinson will obviously be hard-pressed to have as much impact as Burrow. But he fits the Burrow mold as the kind of personality who can help change the culture of a losing franchise.

Hutchinson figures to mesh perfectly with Lions coach Dan Campbell, an unabashed Football Guy intent on making this a bring-your-lunch-pail-to-work kind of team.

Whether Holmes and Campbell finally make it work in Detroit is no certainty. History makes them heavy underdogs. But at least the organization has a vision and alignment at the moment.

The same cannot be said of the Jaguars.

Jacksonville’s Khan artist

Incompetence has a way of trickling down from the top in the NFL, and that makes the presence of owner Shad Khan pretty worrisome.

Anyone even remotely familiar with Urban Meyer’s personality knew he would make a poor fit for the NFL.

A coach too disconsolate to shove down pizza after his 1-2 losses per year was never going to cut it in a league where some of the greatest teams assembled have lost 4 games. And Meyer didn’t have one of those great teams. He was supposed to rebuild a 1-15 team.

Even as badly as things went in Meyer’s first, abbreviated season, Khan was seemingly the only person in Duval County who wanted him back for Year 2. It wasn’t until kicker Josh Lambo alleged that Meyer kicked him before a preseason game that the hammer finally dropped.

The Urban Meyer NFL Experience lasted all of 13 games. But Khan’s mistakes still linger.

Khan’s loyalties lie with Baalke for reasons unclear to the untrained eye. No team saw Baalke fit for a job after the 49ers fired him in 2016 — for 3 seasons. Jacksonville brought him on as director of player personnel in 2020, then promoted him to general manager by the end of that 1-15 season.

Jags fans responded to Khan’s decision to retain Baalke by dressing up as clowns for the season finale at TIAA Bank Field. One fan even went off-script by answering an in-game Jumbotron trivia question with “Fire Baalke.”

And it’s not just the fans in revolt.

Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was apparently set to become Jacksonville’s head coach on the condition that Baalke be shown the door.

Rather than taking the up-and-coming assistant, the Jaguars doubled down on Baalke and hired retread Doug Pederson. Pederson won a Super Bowl in Philadelphia, but his hire has the same vibe as Mike Ditka with the Saints.

Suffice to say, this is not an organization with a vision. Unless it’s a dastardly one. Which would befit a man who consciously chooses to look like Dudley Do-Right villain Snidley Whiplash.

Khan, like Rams owner Stan Kroenke, also owns an English Premier League soccer club. And Kroenke put on a master class in getting a city disinterested in football (St. Louis) before moving somewhere bigger (Los Angeles) and immediately building a contender.

One can’t help but be suspicious that Khan has designs on one-upping Kroenke by one day upgrading Jacksonville for London. That’s more an indictment on Kroenke’s character than Khan’s, but you know what they say about the company you keep.

The NFL has seemingly dangled the Jaguars as UK-bait for years now by scheduling annual home games in London. Even though Khan insists on his loyalty to Northeast Florida, it’s what he does rather than what he says that makes you wary.

For the sake of a fan base devoted enough to choose protesting over no-showing, you hope the incompetence is by accident rather than design. Surely that’s the case, even if reasonable doubts fester.

Either way, Hutchinson appears blessed to avoid this mess.

Sure, he won’t be remembered as a No. 1 overall pick. But he also won’t be a Jaguar. Which gives him a far better chance of being remembered at all.