Biography: Two-year starter awarded All-Conference and all American honors since his junior season. Named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 after totals of 58/16.5/11.5. Junior totals included 52/19.5/15 with two interceptions.
Positives: Explosive college defensive end who projects to outside linebacker at the next level. Displays terrific first step quickness off the snap, plays with good knee bend and gets leverage on opponents. Quickly changes direction, fluid moving to every area of the field and strings plays out laterally, getting to the flanks to tackle ball-carriers. Shows ability in pursuit, keeps his feet and hands active throughout the action and fast up the field or out to the sidelines. Constantly doubled by opponents, plays with good balance and displays a degree of explosion in his game. Forceful, deceptively strong in his lower body and gets push up the field.
Negatives: Lacks bulk, struggles against large blockers and will be engulfed at the point of attack. Out-positioned from the play and gets caught up in the trash. Relatively effective in space yet has not been asked to make plays in reverse all that often in college.
Analysis: Hughes was an impact defensive player on the college level and has a lot his skills for the NFL. His height is a limiting factor, yet he'll offer possibilities as a one-gap pass rusher or outside linebacker in a 3-4 alignment. Possesses a good degree of upside, and has starting potential at the next level.
Ray Carlin/Icon SMI
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