Vikings Reject Trade Offers, Take Mike Hughes in 2018 NFL Draft

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

Central Florida's Mike Hughes returns a kickoff against Connecticut during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

The Minnesota Vikings bolstered their secondary Thursday by selecting UCF cornerback Mike Hughes with the No. 30 pick of the 2018 NFL draft.

Twitter offered its take on the Vikings adding Hughes:

Hughes, a physical and athletic player who can line up in multiple positions across the field, is loaded with raw talent. At 5'10" and 189 pounds, he often projects as a slot corner but would be strong enough to remain on the outside and even cover bigger receivers in the NFL.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller called the cornerback a draft sleeper in January, saying he "has ideal size to match up against outside receivers in the NFL, and he's shown the quickness to handle the job in man coverage."

He isn't much of a sleeper anymore, finishing as Miller's No. 5 player in the class at his position.

The talent was apparent throughout the past season, finishing 2017 with four interceptions, with one returned for a touchdown. He also proved to be a game-changing returner last year, scoring two touchdowns on kickoffs and one on a punt.

The biggest question marks come from his lack of experience and off-field issues. Hughes spent his first season at North Carolina before he and a teammate were arrested for assault at a fraternity party. After leaving UNC, he starred for Garden City Community College before landing at Central Florida ahead of the 2017 season.

Although he was an impact player while helping the Knights finish with a 13-0 record, he has only gained limited reps against top competition.

He should get a chance to grow with the Vikings, a team that is clearly not afraid to take cornerbacks early. Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander were all early draft picks, and Hughes appears to be the next in line.

The rookie can learn behind these players while earning snaps for what should be a top contender in 2018.

While it might take some time for Hughes to reach his potential, his upside is obvious and he can be an impact player before too long.

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