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Jerry Hughes Showing He Can Thrive in New System

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 14:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals tries to avoid Jerry Hughes #92 of the Indianapolis Colts during the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-17.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Eric SmithCorrespondent IIIJune 25, 2016

When the Colts drafted Jerry Hughes in 2010 they thought he'd be the next big thing in the linebacking core. If he would have panned out in the old system, we may not be having a new scheme conversation as the Colts' linebacking core would have been Pat Angerer, Gary Brackett and Jerry Hughes.

Unfortunately, Hughes was nabbed a bust as he only had 21 career tackles and one sack in two years of service as a Colt. He struggled to find the field, and when he did, he was so terrible that they couldn't keep him out there long.

Everyone was saying 2012 would be the last that we see Hughes in Colts blue. No one was giving him a shot.

What everyone forgot was that all the experts were saying Hughes was actually better in a 3-4 defense and would thrive in that system. He wasn't a 4-3 type linebacker, which was the system the Colts ran exclusively under their old regime.

New coach Chuck Pagano brought over a new-look 3-4 defense, and this gave Hughes his final shot to show what he can do.

Hughes looked solid in training camp, but his first audition was yesterday against the St. Louis Rams. He didn't disappoint, as he looked as if he would remain a Colt past this season with his level of play yesterday.

Hughes sacked the quarterback twice yesterday, which gave him more sacks in one game than he had in his entire career prior to that point. He was good in coverage and explosive in getting past the offensive line.

If he can keep this level up, he would be a huge asset on this team and be one of the most improved players in the league. He's definitely going to earn my attention this preseason to see if he can keep this play up.

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