Mike Hughes is a 5’11” and 185-pound DB coming out of his junior season from the undefeated UCF Knights. The echoing word is that the cornerback is climbing big boards, possibly making his way into the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Hughes has had quite the journey to make it to this stage and to be in the 1st-round conversation. Coming out of an undefeated high school program in North Carolina as a three-star prospect in 2015, the young star chose the football program at his hometown North Carolina Tar Heels over the likes of Florida, Clemson, N.C. State and more high-level football schools. He played 10 games for the Heels his freshman year in 2015, racking up 11 tackles and three passes defended. He also garnered himself a misdemeanor assault charge in a disturbance at a frat house that same year, which would change the trajectory of Hughes’ college career.
The corner ended up at Kansas Garden City Community College for his sophomore season in an effort to showcase his talent and gain the trust of a real program again. He went off on the inferior talent for 47 tackles and two interceptions earning him NJCAA All-American honors.
Before long, teams were lined up to recruit him again and Hughes committed to UCF. He spent his 2017 junior season as the far-and-away best cornerback on the Knights who went undefeated at 13-0. Taking major strides in his defensive game, he tallied 49 tackles, a forced fumble, four interceptions and 11 passes defended. Hughes highlighted his returning ability with 20 kick returns for 635 yards and two touchdowns as well as 14 punt returns for 233 yards and a score.
Hughes was slated to be drafted in the early-to-mid second round. But there’s been such a buzz about him since experts have studied his film from the season in more depth that he’s now believed to move his way into the late middle-to-end of the first round, especially if he does well in Indy at the combine. Based on where it sounds like he’ll land in this draft, it doesn’t sound like the Browns will have a chance at him unless he falls to one of their early second round picks or if they fall in love with him so much, they move back into the first round to draft him. The Browns desperately need good cornerbacks and I wouldn’t mind them making a move for Mike Hughes if something works out to make it happen.
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