Hometown: New Bern, North Carolina
Weight: 191 lbs
2015: North Carolina - 35.3% KReturn AVG, 0 Return TD, 11 tackles, 3 PBU, 0 INT, 0 FF
2016: GCCC - n/a KReturn AVG, 0 Return TD n/a tackles, 6 PBU, 3 INT, n/a FF
2017: NC State - 31.75 KReturn AVG, 2 KReturn TD, 1 PReturn TD, 49 Tackles, 11 PBU,
4 INT, 1 FF
- Quick hips
- Can play tight man coverage
- Great closing speed on the ball
- Decent instincts
- Sported a 44.5 passer rating when targeted
- Only gave up 1 TD all season
- Offers some talent as a return man
- Had 3 TD returns total
- Has good speed to hang with NFL receivers
- Decent ball skills
- puts himself in position to make plays on the ball
- Needs to keep his head up when tackling tackling
- Doesn’t fight through blocks very well
- Needs to add strength in the pros
- Only has 1 year of serious playing time
- Needs to become more physical as to not get taken advantage of by large receivers
- Under 6’
Let’s jump right into Hughes’ tape against Memphis. This was one of his stronger games of the season, and also a good example of what he needs to work on. Hughes shows something I both like and dislike on this play. You can see him shuffling sideways, waiting for his opportunity to make a play on the ball carrier. Once he sees his opening, he turns on the jets, and closes the gap between them very quickly. Unfortunately he shows very bad tackling form here. He lowers his head, and leaves his feet. He pretty much whiffs on the ball carrier. If he kept his head up and stayed on his feet, he might have been able to stick him right at the line. There are many examples of this kind of tackling.
In this next play, Hughes is in man coverage on one of my favorite receivers, Anthony Miller. Hughes does a good job of getting his hands on Miller early. Miller isn’t the kind of receiver you want to give a free release to. Even though this is a completion, Hughes is in his pocket the whole play. Once he gains some NFL strength, he will be able to fight through little hand fighting and make a play on the ball.
In this clip, Hughes is matched up 1 on 1 with Miller once again. Hughes shows two things I like a lot here. First he shows the ability to flip his hips quickly and run with Miller toward the post without giving up any separation. The second thing I like is that he takes a great angle to the ball to avoid the penalty.
Draft Grade: Second Round
Mike Hughes is a corner I really enjoyed watching. I believe at this moment, Hughes is a safe second rounder pick. Mike should test well at the combine which will boost the intrigue of many. If he were a little taller, I believe he would have a chance in the late portion of the first. He is a sticky corner that doesn’t give up much, and he is scheme diverse as well.
The Jets need corner help badly. The fact that Buster Skrine is the best corner we have signed is a testament to that. We will more than likely be in the market for one in free agency, but why not take a guy like Hughes in the second? He fits what Bowles likes in his corners as well. Being able to hold your own in man coverage is a must in a Bowles defense. That is one aspect of Hughes’ game where he can shine.