Position: Outside Linebacker
Projected 40-Time: 4.65
Star Rating: Grade: 88
Draft Projection: 2nd Round
Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of March 5th) in the 2010 Scout.com Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:
85-100 = 1st - 2nd
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th
_55-69 = 5th - 6th
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA
Strengths: Hughes is an athletic defender who possesses the quickness and hand placement to be a terror off the edge. He has a quick first step and is tough to control off the edge. He plays with great leverage and suddenness, and changes direction fluidly while in pursuit. He possesses a solid repertoire of moves and is able to get off blocks consistently with his high motor and tenacity on the field. He gets good depth on his drops and is able to cover a large area because of his athleticism.
Weaknesses: He’s a tweener who doesn’t have a natural position at the next level. He can play with his hand in the dirt or standing up; he’s best suited to play OLB in a 3-4 defense. He struggles defending against the run and has to improve his upper-body strength.Steuber Says: One of the nation’s most feared pass rushers, Hughes has generated 26.5 sacks over the last two seasons. He had a career-high 15 sacks in 2008 and followed it up with 11.5 this past season. Hughes has exceptional skills and could develop into a sack master at the OLB position. But it will be a transition for him, and it may take some time before he makes an impact. He’s a highly regarded prospect and will receive second round consideration.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: email@example.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.