UCF cornerback Mike Hughes is one of 30 2018 NFL Draft prospects who will meet with the Eagles in Philadelphia for an official pre-draft visit, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. (Hat tip BGN reader Carlos Rodriguez.)
Hughes projects to be a first-round selection, and the Eagles already have a lot of bodies at corner, so what gives? It would seem Philadelphia potentially views Hughes as a nickel option for them. Hughes is on the smaller side for his position given that he’s 5-10, 180 pounds.
Part of the reason the Eagles might be inviting Hughes to Philly is to get a better read on his character. Hughes got suspended for violating team rules while at UNC. He transferred to Garden City Community College in 2016 before finishing his college football career at UCF in 2017.
During his two years playing at the FBS level, Hughes had 60 total tackles, 14 passes defensed, four interceptions, one forced fumble, and one defensive touchdown.
Hughes put up some strong numbers as a return man. He scored one touchdown and averaged a whopping 16.6 yards per punt return on 14 attempts. As a kick returner, Hughes had 24 returns for two touchdowns and a 31.7 average.
Slot corner and punt returner are currently two of the biggest needs on Philadelphia’s roster. It would be ideal to add a player like Hughes who could potentially address both of those areas.
One holdup worth noting is that Hughes doesn’t have a lot of game experience as a nickel CB. PFF notes he only played 18 slot snaps in 2017. In a small sample size, he allowed just four receptions.
Scouting report via NFL.com:
Draft Projection: Round 1
Sources Tell Us: “I wish he would have stayed. I don’t see him as a ‘one’ and I think he could have been with another year. He’s just raw right now but he’s got the ability to become a really tough ball challenger.” -- NFC regional scout
NFL Comparison: Bradley Roby
Bottom Line: Hughes simply hasn’t had the game experience he needs to put together the consistency in coverage that teams might like to see. He’s a projection-based prospect who has shown twitch, ball production and toughness in a small sample size. Despite being a little short, he is likely to stay outside in coverage. While teams wait for him to gain coverage experience, they can certainly lean on his tremendous talents as a return man. Hughes has potential, but there is still work to be done in coverage.
Spider graph via Mockdraftable:
Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits
UCF CB Mike Hughes
Maryland LB Jermaine Carter - [Click here]
Central Arkansas CB Tremon Smith - [Click here]
Iowa C James Daniels - [Click here]
Miami TE Chris Herndon - [Click here]
South Carolina State LB Darius Leonard - [Click here]
San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny - [Click here]
Western Michigan OT Chukwuma Okorafor - [Click here]
Northern Iowa WR Daurice Fountain - [Click here]
Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch - [Click here]
Stanford S Justin Reid - [Click here]
LSU RB Derrius Guice - [Click here]
LSU CB Donte Jackson - [Click here]