Mike Hughes, CB
The Chiefs had a solid, but not spectacular secondary last season. The emergence of L’Jarius Sneed was a huge boost for the team, but this offseason the team didn’t really do anything to improve the situation more. In fact, with Bashaud Breeland not being re-signed, you could argue that the Chiefs are worse off today than they were when the season ended when it comes to the cornerback position. The one note worthy addition they made at corner was swapping late round picks with the Minnesota Vikings for Mike Hughes.
I was a big fan of Hughes coming out of college. His physical man coverage abilities made him fun to watch, but injuries have derailed his career thus far. The Chiefs have to be hoping that a change of scenery is just what the former first round pick needs to get his career back on track. The problem is that injuries aren’t usually something that a change of scenery fixes. A guy can be a bad fit for a scheme or not respond to a particular coaching staff, but if someone’s body is breaking down that can happen anywhere.
I hope I’m wrong about Hughes, but I’m just skeptical that he can hold up enough to be relied upon. Hughes is a smaller corner that plays with an aggressive physical style. So far that has led to an ACL tear early in his career and chronic neck issues last season after suffering a broken vertebra in his neck. Lots of guys have torn their ACL and maybe the neck was a fluke injury, but so far it doesn’t seem like his body is up for the punishment that his play style demands.
If Hughes proves me wrong and can be a reliable starting caliber player in the slot it would free up L’Jarius Sneed to play on the outside opposite Charvarius Ward with guys like DeAndre Baker and Rashad Fenton providing quality depth off the bench. That would be huge, but I’m just not going to get my hopes up. There’s a reason the Vikings were willing to give up a former first round pick for a swap of late round picks, right?
Next up, a draft pick that I think fans should cool their expectations for.