CB Mike Hughes, Central Florida

5’11” – 189 lbs. – 4.53

Spent one season at the University of North Carolina, in which he appeared in ten games as a true freshman. Spent the following season at Garden City Community College, then started at cornerback and was the primary kick and punt returner at Central Florida this past season before declaring for the draft. Plays left cornerback, typically well off the line of scrimmage and using a shuffle technique, but occasionally coming down into press man or playing zone coverage. Height and bulk are solid for a boundary cornerback, with what look like long arms. Plays with a lot of energy. Very good athlete with extremely quick feet when shuffling. Has no trouble sticking with opponents down the sidelines. However, technique is a little bit sloppy, especially in terms of his balance when backpedaling and at the route stem, when he has some wasted motion and tends to turn around instead of into his man. Consequently, may be susceptible to timing-based throws at the next level, at least initially. Didn’t do a lot of bump-and-run coverage in college, but flashes the ability to use his length to pin opponents to the sidelines. Excellent plant-and-drive burst to close on a spot, whether when defending passes or coming up to support the run. Aggressive player who can play throws like a wide receiver when targeted down the field; has good timing, leaping ability, and body control. Intercepted four passes this year and broke up eleven more. Dangerous with the ball in his hands; scored one touchdown on a pick-six, two on kickoffs, and one on a punt return, averaging over thirty-one yards per kick return and over sixteen per punt. Tackling leaves a lot to be desired; is very willing to come up and hit, but relies on turning himself into a projectile instead of breaking down and wrapping up ballcarriers, leading to missed tackles. Started just one season at the FBS level and is clearly a work in progress from a technical standpoint, but has a very intriguing combination of speed, quickness, explosiveness, and ball skills which could make him into an effective starter at the pro level with further development. In the meantime, offers value as a return specialist. Would probably have benefited from polishing his game with another year in school, but even in a deep cornerback class, looks likely to come off the board in the first or second round.

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