Jerry Hughes has a lot of support among Green Bay fans. He even has his own fan club in our community.
He does have great pass rush skills, a skill no team can have too much of. He is quick to get the edge and has a knack for getting sacks. He had incredible production during his time as a Defensive End at TCU. He was a two time All-American.
He had solid combine numbers, although he does lack elite size. His 4.69 forty-yard dash assured scouts he is more than a high motor player.
Green Bay scored last draft by traded up for the Pro Bowler Clay Matthews. Matthews added much needed pressure to Green Bay's defense. While the Right Outside Linebacker position is locked up, the Left side is not so certain.
Brad Jones stepped in for seven starts last season, and played well. He had four sacks, but critics don't believe he has the explosiveness to dominate in the pros.
Jerry Hughes would likely be an upgrade in pass rush over Jones, but he may struggle in other aspects of the game.
Last season the right Outside Linebacker for Green Bay rushed the passer 35% of the time. That leaves 65% of plays were pass rush ability means nothing. That leaves run plays and coverage plays.
Hughes may be the best pass rusher in the draft, although I don't think so. But he is not the best against the run or in coverage.
Hughes played Defensive End in college, so he lacks the experience in coverage as well as the athleticism to play in space. He struggled against the run in college on the line. Considering he will have to adjust to playing the run as a Linebacker, his run defense will also likely struggle.
It is rare to find a player that excels at all three aspects of defense. So, it would be foolish for Green Bay to pass up on a player that does. That player is Sergio Kindle, who may fall in Green Bay's lap.
Kindle has Linebacker experience, has terrific athleticism, and plays well against the run.
Hughes simply does not fit in Green Bay. Since Matthews is so good rushing the passer, Green Bay's other OLB will have to play in coverage more often. Hughes would struggle doing this, and might not be an every down player.
Kindle would be a better fit because he is a more fluid athlete, and even Brandon Graham would be a better option if he falls.
The best choice for Green Bay in the first will likely be a Corner back or Left Tackle, because the two Outside Linebackers with a first round grade likely will be gone at 23. Those players being Sergio Kindle and Brandon Graham.
Hughes will not be available when Green Bay picks in the second, so unless Green Bay trades to get Hughes he will not be a Packer. So, expect Ted Thompson to look elsewhere in this year's draft.
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