Fifth Round: 139th Pick
Montori Hughes definitely has had to answer a lot of questions from NFL teams throughout the draft process. He bounced around a couple institutions before finally landing at Tennessee-Martin for his final year of school.
He has a great combination of size and quickness, but he isn't fundamentally sound and there are doubts about his character both on and off the field. Will his natural talent be enough to overcome the character concerns?
+ Prototypical size
+ Solid balance and vision hitting holes
+ Explodes off the line
+ Full-body strength, hard to move
- Has a rocky past
- Didn't play against great competition in college
- Doesn't have great technique
- Questions about work ethic and stamina
Hughes is a solid 6'4", 329 lbs., with 32 5/8" arms and 10 1/8" paws. He is solidly built from top to bottom, and appears to have solid core strength along with tree trunk legs and a thick torso.
He ran a slow 5.23 40-yard dash at the combine, and only had average numbers in the bench press, with 22 reps, and the 20-yard shuttle, with a time of 4.70 seconds.
Hughes has a very spotty background. He committed to the University of Tennessee, but was forced to attend Hargrave Military Academy for a semester because of academic issues.
He then was suspended multiple times while at Tennessee before finally being dismissed from the school in the summer of 2011. He stayed out of trouble at Tennessee-Martin, but his past is not going to help him on draft day.
Hughes has played as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 and also as a nose tackle in a 3-4, and does both well. His size and strength are not quite at the level of an NFL nose tackle, and he would be better suited in a 4-3.
Hughes is not much of a pass-rusher. He doesn't have the agility or technique to beat his man and get to the quarterback, and if he does beat the offensive lineman, his closing speed isn't enough to catch most quarterbacks. In the past three collegiate seasons (at UT and T-M), Hughes had just six total sacks.
Against the Run
Hughes is at his best against the run. He gets off the line quickly and stays low to get leverage and drive his man backwards. He also flashes the capability to pull of a quick rip move to penetrate up the middle.
He is strong enough to manage double-teams, and will not give up ground to anyone. At his best, he can get his hands under any interior offensive lineman and drive them up and back to create havoc in the middle and blow up a play.
Hughes is a good tackler when he is stationary. He uses his entire body, and stays low to wrap up any back with ease. He struggles, however, when he has to run and pursue a ball-carrier, because his ability to change directions and re-set his feet for a tackle is minimal.
Potential NFL Role
Hughes fits best as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 system. His size and quickness off the line could make him a solid rotational piece for an NFL team, and he would be used primarily on early downs against the run.
NFL Draft Projection