Daily Digest for April 23rd

Filed in Lifestream
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Chip Bennett Just finished mowing the lawn before the rain comes in. Now I just need to find time for the weeds this weekend! [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip Just finished mowing the lawn before the rain comes in. Now I just need to find time for the weeds this weekend!.
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Chip Bennett NFL Draft weekend: awesome! Having to go to bed at 8:00 to get up at 4AM, thus missing the #Colts' first-round pick: not awesome. [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip NFL Draft weekend: awesome! Having to go to bed at 8:00 to get up at 4AM, thus missing the #Colts' first-round pick: not awesome..
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Chip Bennett The Make-A-Wish kid from Florence, KY, did a really good job announcing the Steelers' pick. Shouldn't he be a Bengals fan, though? [chip_bennett].
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Chip Bennett Chip The Make-A-Wish kid from Florence, KY, did a really good job announcing the Steelers' pick. Shouldn't he be a Bengals fan, though?.

2010 NFL Draft – Colts: Round 1

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Draft, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

With the 31st overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts take:

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU

Stats:

  • HT: 6'2 / WT: 255 / 40:4.69
  • Career: 139 tackles, 28.5 sacks, 39 TFL, 7 FF, 2 INT
  • 2008/2009 First-Team All-American, 2009 Lott Trophy (Defensive IMPACT player) Winner, 2009 Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End) winner

Overview:

Hughes is a "tweener" pass-rushing DE in the mold of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. He is considered to be the best pass-rusher in the draft, and is known for his speed, tenacity, motor, and football intelligence. Many projected Hughes as a Round 2/3 pick who would move to OLB in a 3-4 defense, due to his lack of size at DE (or, in other words: exactly what the experts predicted for Freeney).

Player Comparisons:

Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, LaMarr Woodley, Demarcus Ware

Bio:

Draft Analysis:

  • NFL.com

    The Colts' [sic] fortify their pass rush with the addition of Jerry Hughes. Although Indianapolis retains Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, it still needed another rusher to alleviate some of the pressure on the duo. In Hughes, the Colts get a hard-working edge rusher with outstanding quickness and burst. The Colts have the luxury of slowly integrating Hughes into the lineup, and can groom him into a starter after a year or two.

  • ESPN.com

    What he brings: Hughes is a player who has a non-stop motor. He boasts great quickness, body control and the ability to bend and accelerate to close on quarterbacks. He also shows an array of pass-rush moves which keeps offensive tackles on their toes to both the inside and outside. He had a very productive, durable career. Hughes fits perfectly at the NFL level as an undersized pass-rush specialist off the edge.

    How he fits: Hughes is in the same mold of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. While the duo had 23 sacks combined, both players have been at risk of wearing down. Freeney and Mathis are undersized defensive ends at or nearing the age of 30. Raheem Brock was released, so depth was needed and Hughes will immediately be an effective pass-rushing reserve for the Colts.

  • Yahoo Sports

    Hughes is the kind of undersized pass rusher the Colts love. He has a variety of ways to get after the quarterback, knows how to change directions in tight quarters and plays till the whistle. He isn't an ideal fit for every defense but looks like a potential impact-caliber pass rusher in the Colts' scheme.

Scouting Reports

  • Draft Board Insider

    Scouting Report: The 3-4 defense is becoming more and more of the norm in the league, and it's success hinges on having outside linebackers who can rush the quarterback.  In this draft, Hughes is easily the best 3-4 rush OLB/DE hybrid in this draft.  He's got ideal size, that allows his to be strong at the point of attack against the run, can engage a lineman, shed them and get to the ball carrier.  But his strength is that first step as a pass rusher.  Hand on the ground, no player in the country is as explosive as Hughes.  He does a great job with his hands, keeps his pad level good and can get up and under larger players, split double teams, and blow past slower linemen.  He plays with great leverage, and rarely loses a one on one.  He's got a motor that doesn't quit, and you rarely see him take a play off.  Where he'll need work is in run support, where he does get washed away at times, and in coverage, where he's going to have to learn much more about coverage and be much more fluid in his drops and be able to turn and run with tight ends and backs.

    Draft Status: Most mock drafts don't have Hughes in the first round but I disagree.  When you see what great 3-4 defenses have, it's the ability to generate a consistent pass rush from their OLB.  There is no player in the draft who can do that like Hughes can, so I am certain some team will snatch him up in the first round.

    Final Analysis: I may be in the minority, but I think Hughes is one of the 5 best defensive players in this entire draft (With Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry, and Joe Haden).  His explosion off the edge, and his tenacity going after the quarterback is so fun to watch.  Hughes may not show up in shorts the way some pundits want, but he's a straight up lunch pail football player, and brings it every single play.  You can't ask for much more than that.  The best pass rusher in the draft bar none, and is going to make some team very happy.

    Reminds me of: LaMarr Woodley, OLB Pittsburgh Steelers-Same body type, same college experience, and same explosive nature that so Woodley has translated very well to his new position.  Honestly, I think Hughes has a chance to be much better.

  • NFL.com (Grade: 8.2)

    Hughes is a defensive end that has been the most disruptive defender for the Horned Frogs over the past two years. He is a tweener (size and athleticism) at the next level and may fit as an undersized end in a 4-3 scheme or an inexperienced outside backer in an odd front. Hughes is best attacking the line of scrimmage rushing the passer or penetrating to disrupt the run. He uses his hands well to control blockers on the edge. He also shows an expansive pass rush package. Hughes has dropped in zone coverage at times but is most comfortable with his hand on the ground. He is a solid tackler in the open field utilizing great balance and body positioning. Regardless of where Hughes aligns at the next level he should contribute as a rookie due to his instincts, toughness, athleticism and energy.

  • SI.com (Grade: 3.02 - First-Year Contributor)

    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.

    Projection: 1-2

  • Mocking The Draft (Projection: Round 2 / Rank: #22 out of Top 200, #6 OLB)

    Pass rush: Plays two yards deep outside. Very good footwork. Properly adjusts his feet to get around the corner quickly. Pass rush moves are ordinary. Mostly a speed rusher. Never really showed consistently that he was comfortable with his spin move.

    Pursuit: The effort Hughes displays is outstanding. He's a very aggressive player who always plays until the whistle. Has good speed in pursuit. Lateral movement is solid.

    Quickness/Explosion: Good first step off the snap. With his hand down, Hughes has as good of a burst off the snap as any pass rusher in the nation. Easily fires past linemen who don't quickly get into position.

    ...

    Final word: As a pass rusher, Hughes is very good. But he'll need to do a better job against the run and learn how to drop into coverage. He shows a solid first step, which helped him lead the nation in sacks in 2008. He shows above average lateral quickness, but needs to learn how to shed blocks better.

    He'll be a good value pick for a 3-4 team in the second round.

  • National Football Post (Grade: 6.8 - Becomes a starter in his rookie year…becomes a solid NFL player who has no real weakness…can’t be exploited or consistently taken out of games.)

    A gifted athlete off the edge who showcases a good first step and has the speed to consistently threaten the corner, Hughes looks even more explosive when asked to stand up from a two-point stance and can accelerate around the edge. He's a natural bender who coils up well and likes to play from a four-point stance at times. He has little wasted motion and does a nice job maximizing his first step. He possesses good balance and pad level when asked to turn the corner and likes to be violent with his hands when setting up blocks. He does a nice job changing gears on the outside, using his length to defeat the block, and is sudden in space. Also, Hughes displays a physical element to his game. He isn't afraid to work the bull-rush and does a good job getting under the pad level of opposing linemen on contact, pumping his legs and collapsing the pocket on the outside. He likes to work his bull-rush as a counter move when offensive tackles start overplaying his outside run.

    He isn't the most instinctive rusher off the snap and at times will struggle to time up the snap count. But he does a nice job finding the ball in the run game and working his way toward the action. He's a bit undersized and can be overwhelmed and sealed from the ball in the run game, but he works himself off blocks well and does a nice job dropping his pad level on contact and exploding down the line to make the play. Overall, he's a gifted pass rusher who can pressure the pocket in a variety of ways. He has some versatility but to me looks like a bona fide starting 3-4 OLB at the next level.

  • NFL Draft Countdown (Rating: 3 Stars / Projection: Round 2/3)

    Strengths:
    Extremely athletic and smooth --- Great speed and acceleration --- Very quick and agile --- A terror when bending off the edge --- Fantastic first step --- Terrific range --- Does a great job in pursuit --- Has a burst to close --- Active with a non-stop motor --- Fluid in space and changes directions well --- Good hands and ball skills --- Hard worker --- Student of the game --- Offers positional and schematic versatility --- Productive

    Weaknesses:
    Undersized in terms of both height and bulk with a thin frame --- Is a liability versus the run --- Gets driven off the line --- Struggles to get off blocks --- Doesn't play strong --- Repertoire of pass rush moves is limited --- Does not use his hands well --- Can be too aggressive at times --- A  little  inconsistent --- Might have to make a position change.

  • Fox Sports

    A first-team All-American, Hughes made a transformation from prep running back to standout defensive end at TCU. As he moves on to the next level, Hughes will likely be asked to make another transition, this time to outside linebacker. His lack of bulk would make him a liability against the run, so a move to a stand-up position in a 3-4 scheme may be the best way to maximize his athleticism and ability as a pass rusher on the edge. Hughes was highly productive despite facing constant double teams. A two-time Mountain West defensive player of the year, he led the Horned Frogs in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (15) as a senior. Hughes forced a fumble and recovered it in TCU's loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. He was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, awarded to the nation's top defensive player, and won the Ted Hendricks defensive end of the year award. He was also awarded the Lott Trophy, which honors on-field performance and personal character among defensive players. Hughes led the nation with 15 sacks the previous season, his first as a full-time starter, adding six forced fumbles and two interceptions. He's fast and has an excellent first step, but his repertoire of moves as a pass rusher is limited. Hughes ran the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds at the combine. As a student of the game and a hard worker, though, he has an excellent chance of developing under the right tutelage. If he came out after his junior year, Hughes had a chance to be a first- or early second-round pick. He wanted to fulfill a promise to his parents to finish his degree. Now, due to a deep class of outside linebackers, Hughes will likely be pushed into the second or third round.

  • Rivals.com

    A gifted athlete off the edge who showcases a good first step and has the speed to consistently threaten the corner, Hughes looks even more explosive when asked to stand up from a two-point stance and can accelerate around the edge. He's a natural bender who coils up well and likes to play from a four-point stance at times. He has little wasted motion and does a nice job maximizing his first step. He possesses good balance and pad level when asked to turn the corner and likes to be violent with his hands when setting up blocks. He does a nice job changing gears on the outside, using his length to defeat the block, and is sudden in space. Also, Hughes displays a physical element to his game. He isn't afraid to work the bull-rush and does a good job getting under the pad level of opposing linemen on contact, pumping his legs and collapsing the pocket on the outside. He likes to work his bull-rush as a counter move when offensive tackles start overplaying his outside run. He isn't the most instinctive rusher off the snap and at times will struggle to time up the snap count. But he does a nice job finding the ball in the run game and working his way toward the action. He's a bit undersized and can be overwhelmed and sealed from the ball in the run game, but he works himself off blocks well and does a nice job dropping his pad level on contact and exploding down the line to make the play. Overall, he's a gifted pass rusher who can pressure the pocket in a variety of ways. He has some versatility but to me looks like a bona fide starting 3-4 OLB at the next level.

  • FFToolbox (Rank: #22 in Top 100)

    Hughes will not fit into every NFL system. It has become quite clear that he is a linebacker who was an end in college. He simply lacks the size and strength to play at the end spot at the next level. That could slip him down into the early portion of the second round, but after a solid combine, Hughes is holding onto hopes of hearing his name called on the first day of the draft.

  • WalterFootball

    Summary: Hughes earns my first-round, 4-star grade as a 3-4 rush linebacker. His athleticism and motor is simply too much for me to not grade him out higher than everyone else. He is my No. 1 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft and I expect his stock to soar among the 3-4 teams in the league. He was simply too productive at TCU, and despite his lack of height we can see what Elvis Dumervil did last season with his exceptional first step and speed off the edge. Hughes is a projected late-first to second-round pick, but could end up going in the top 25 picks when it's all said and done, much like Larry English.

    Player Comparison: Robert Mathis. Mathis is an undersized pass rusher who plays with amazing effort, but is a liability against the run.

  • NFL Draft Geek

    Jerry Hughes seems to be the most underrated prospect in this years draft, he is in our eyes is [sic] the best Pass Rusher in the draft, but not rated nearly as highly by most. His biggest asset is his speed[;] he is the fastest pass rushing prospect in the draft, and is an absolute terror around the edge. Technically, he is the most NFL ready[;] he plays with great pad level, a high football IQ, uses his hands and long arms well, quick feet, and has a natural ability to sack the Quarterback. The reason he is rated so much lower on other websites and "experts" boards, is that he struggles against the run and is not all that strong. Those are legitimate criticisms, but his specific skill set is exactly why we like him so much. His skill set is perfect for a 3-4 defense, where he can focus on using his speed and athletic ability to get after the quarterback. There is no doubt from anybody that he has been the best pass rusher the past 2 years in college, and if correctly slotted into a 3-4 rush linebacker he absolutely will be able to continue his pace and be an elite pass rusher in the Pros. He is also a coaches [sic] dream when you add in his physicality, effort, intensity, and smarts. Comparable to Cowboys DE/OLB Demarcus Ware.