Mike Hughes, CB
School: UCF | Conference: AAC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 185 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round or 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Brice McCain
Mike Hughes may be the toughest and most physical cornerback in this draft. Hughes is an aggressive press corner. He may be an inch or two shorter than the desired prototype at the position but what he lacks in height he makes it up with impressive closing speed and athleticism. Hughes started his career at North Carolina and started as a true freshman. He was involved in a fight on campus year (2015) and was charged with a misdemeanor assault charge. Hughes left the Tar Heels and enrolled into Garden City Community College for the 2016 season where he dominated the level of competition there. Hughes was supposed to transfer to South Carolina but the requirements for his associate degree weren't fulfilled on time for their deadline. The Garden City CC Coach had a relationship with one of UCF’s coaches and that’s how Hughes ended up UCF.
Hughes may have only spent a year at UCF before making his NFL jump but he made a big impact on that program as a corner and as a returner. Hughes is a dynamic player and should test well as far as his speed and agility are concerned. Hughes is a playmaker and takes his chances in coverage. He’ll need to refine his technique and become a bit more disciplined but he has a solid foundation to work with. He is also pretty physical and likes to jam receivers at the LOS and loves come up and make tackles. Hughes also adds versatility to his game as a punt/kick returner. Hughes was invited to the combine this past week and should be one of the best performers there.
- Good build great speed and even better athleticism.
- Rarely allows receivers to break clean from the snap. Disrupts timing, ruins plans, and is annoying as a defender.
- Has good anticipation and awareness. Times his breakups well. Physical but not reckless.
- Great speed and vision. Should have no trouble sticking with the fastest receivers in the NFL. Dynamic as a returner and can cause damage on special teams.
- Great short area quickness and closing speed. Made a lot of plays with split-second reactions.
- One year of NFL level production.
- Shorter than desired and can't quite contend with much bigger receivers who have a higher catch point.
- Eyes are too often on the receiver when the ball is in the air. He got away with a few PIs in college that will be called in the NFL. Overall technique should be improved with NFL coaching.
- Had that misdemeanor assault charge at NC.
Let’s see his work:
There's a CB at UCF I like. Mike Hughes. Play press and gives up nothing for free. Forces guys to the boundary, makes you earn every inch. My guy.— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) January 16, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Hughes offers a fiery and competitive spirit, physicality and great speed as a corner but he is not quite ready for a starting role yet. Hughes does have next level speed and athleticism and even if he doesn't see the field as a starting CB in his first year he should see the field often on special teams as a returner. The Redskins need a legit return threat on the roster as they have struggled to find one for many years now. Hughes has the ability to completely flip field position and score when that unit is on the field. Hughes aggressive nature is desirable but it needs to be controlled. An NFL defensive backs coach should be able to remedy most of his technical deficiencies most notably his footwork and his habit of not turning his head when the ball is in the air. I love Hughes’ mentality as a press corner and his ability to disrupt on every snap is not something that is plentiful in this draft. As a corner who is not quite ready to go, it’s fine to question his draft projection for this team but one must remember the versatility he offers and the top end speed he has. I think Hughes could have a future as a boundary corner and in the slot, depending on the team he’s drafted by. Hughes brings the attitude that the Redskins CB unit could always benefit from and would be the best athlete at the position if he were drafted by Washington. He may not get a lot of reps at the position his rookie year but he should compete with Holsey and Moreau. Hughes immediate value is as a game-changing returner.