The Vikings made Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes the 30th overall pick in the NFL draft. The first-rounder joins three other first-round picks in the Vikings’ secondary -- safety Harrison Smith in 2010, cornerback Xavier Rhodes in 2013 and cornerback Trae Waynes in 2015. Hughes recorded 49 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass deflections last season. His ability to play outside, inside and on special teams provided “too much value” for the Vikings to pass up, said General Manager Rick Spielman.
Here’s what pre-draft scouting reports had to say about Hughes:
“Despite being a little short, he is likely to stay outside in coverage. While teams wait for him to gain coverage experience, they can certainly lean on his tremendous talents as a return man. Hughes has potential, but there is still work to be done in coverage.” -- NFL.com.
“Hughes is a natural cover corner with speed, quick feet, and agility. He is very fluid and does a good job of running the route with receivers to prevent them from gaining separation. Hughes keeps wideouts from coming open and is quick to recover if they get a step. Hughes has nice hips to turn to run downfield with speed receivers. He also is a willing tackler.” -- WalterFootball.com
“His one season at UCF was filled with impressive coverage, returns and interceptions. He does a great job utilizing the trail technique to stay in position for pass break ups and baiting quarterbacks into ill-advised throws. His ability to play the ball in the air really makes this technique work for him and his 35-inch vertical certainly helps. When playing off, which happened often in the Knights’ scheme, he has quick feet to mirror his man but there is room for improvement.” -- NFLdraftbible.com
“Mike Hughes is cornerback prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft who can also be categorized as a playmaker. This is an explosive athlete who jumps off the screen with his quickness. His burst shows up both on defense and special teams. Hughes is an electric return man with 3 touchdowns this past season. He is ready to contribute immediately on both kick and punt returns.” -- Fansided.com