After re-signing Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara to multi-year deals, the Bears appear to be mostly set at the cornerback position. But can you really ever have too many when your division features three Pro Bowl QBs? (No. The answer is no.)
All of which is why you’ll be happy to hear that Mike Hughes’ draft stock is on the rise (he’s expected to go within the first two rounds), and that the University of Central Florida cornerback already has plans to meet with the Chicago Bears, among others, according to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Chicago has been connected to the UCF product.
NFL Network analyst Peter Schager shared his first mock draft back in March, which had Hughes going to the Bears with the eighth overall pick. Schrager’s mock was a bit of a head-turner, because he had the Bears making Hughes the first corner chosen in a draft that also features Ohio State’s Denzel Ward, Iowa’s Josh Jackson, and Alabama multi-positional defender Minkah Fitzpatrick.
But Schrager seems to have hit his analysis-nail on the head, because he predicted Hughes’ rise back in March: “Hughes is going to be selected a lot higher than most mock drafts have him going right now, as a shutdown corner who possesses tremendous athletic ability. I’ve spoken to some scouts who have circled him as the combine/pro day riser to watch.”
“Hughes is a physical corner with tremendous ball skills, speed, and the ability to be a game-changer as a kick return and punt return specialist. Unfortunately, his lack of experience (just one year as a starter) and size (5-11, 191) are knocks on his game that might be too large to overlook and could keep him from being a top-10 selection.”
Back in March, several projections had Hughes available in the second-round, but that has since changed. For just one example, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com ranks Hughes 18th in his 50 best draft prospects, so his chances of lasting until the mid 30s (or later) might be fairly unlikely.
Of course, the Bears aren’t the only team interested in Hughes. Pauline writes that the UCF product met with the Panthers and Saints during the school’s pro day on Friday and also was set to visit the Packers, Vikings, Buccaneers, Eagles, and Chiefs.
Cornerback isn’t the highest priority for the Bears at this time, but it is an area the team should address in the draft. In fact, Chicago should probably prioritize the position in an attempt to combat the offenses of division rivals who could look to air it out early and often in 2018. And while Ward and Jackson have long been considered this draft class’ top corners, Hughes doesn’t seem too far off the path.