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Scouting The Draft: Jerry Hughes, TCU, DE/OLB

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I don't think there has been a player, maybe besides Shipley that I have enjoyed watching more than Jerry Hughes, he is the very definition of explosive. I remember seeing him back in his Sophomore year in 2007 and not thinking much of him, but the improvements he has made over 2008/2009 have knocked him up into the late first rounds.

When looking into his background, nothing really cropped up, apart from awards, awards, and more awards, you will see them listed below. As only a two year starter for the Horned Frogs, his statistics really jump out at you, he is a play-maker plain and simple.

Unfortunately for everyone who was excited about seeing him go up against the best at the Senior Bowl, Hughes was unable to play saying:

I am disappointed I am not able to play in the Senior Bowl because of a quad injury I suffered during the Fiesta Bowl. I have been rehabbing it at API in Phoenix, but the doctors advised me not to play in the Senior Bowl.

Hughes a former high school running back was made to adapt to the defensive side of the ball once he got to TCU, and he believes that he can make similar adjustments to playing as a 3-4 OLB:

I've heard people say I'd be a good fit for the 3-4 (defense) at linebacker. I made changes during most of my college career, so I'm used to it. I've always been able to adjust and adapt to anything I put my mind to -- both in football and life.

Career Stats

2006- 10 games played, 3 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 sack,

2007- 13 games played, 29 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 INT

2008- 13 games played, 52 tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions

2009- 13 games played, 58 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Career Awards & Achievements

2008 First Team All-MWC

2008- First Team All American

2008- MWC Defensive Player Of The Year

2009 First Team All-MWC

2009- MWC Defensive Player Of The Year

2009 First Team All American

2009- Lott Trophy Winner*

2009- Ted Hendricks Award Winner **

*- Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's defensive IMPACT player of the year: IMPACT is an acronym for: integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community, and tenacity.

**- Ted Hendricks award is given to the nations top defensive end.

More after the jump:

What does Jerry Hughes do well?

You won't find a move explosive player off the snap in this draft. He is lightning quick, and if the tackle is not equally as quick getting set, he will be in the QB's face immediately. Has a nose for the ball and sniffs out where it is going very quickly. Has an excellent motor and doesn't give up on any plays. Will pursue down the field on every single snap. His open field speed is great, and his closing speed is very impressive. At his best as a speed rusher coming off the edge, very agile, athletic. Shows great acceleration and nice length when making the tackle. Has good lateral movement and has the quickness to get to the sideline with the quicker players. Is a very aggressive player, doesn't have a whole host of moves but still finds himself in the backfield on a consistent basis. Intelligent player who keeps his nose clean and just does his job. As a speed rusher, have a feeling he would really enjoy playing for Rex Ryan who let's players play to their strengths and limits the weaknesses.

What does Jerry Hughes need to improve on?

His run defence is still a little below average for a player hoping to go in the first round, he will need to improve on that area of his game is he wants to be an every down player. Can sometimes be too aggressive, and his speed takes him beyond the play sometimes. Wouldn't hurt to develop more pass rushing skills to combat games where he will face quicker more agile tackles on the outside. Sometimes has an issue using his hands to get off blocks

Final Word

Jerry Hughes has that prototypical size/sped/length that you look for with your outside linebackers. With the players we have right now, we could afford to let him learn to play the run better while bringing him in for pass rushing situations. I like his hard work, and I love his motor, any player that pursues until the whistle gets an immediate tick in my mind. He looks like he loves the game, his work ethic in the film room as well as on the practise field bodes well for his ability to adapt and learn. A lot of people see him going in the 2nd round, but late first is my projection and I wouldn't be against us picking him up at 29. He works, he tackles, and he is lightning off the edge. Run D, can be learned.

Video Highlights


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