Leading up to the NFL Draft many teams will continue their evaluation process on prospects while altering their draft boards in preparation for Draft day. CPGM will provide you a breakdown of two prospects matched against each other with similar draft projections to get you prepped for this year’s draft. Voting option below for your input on who you think the better prospect is in this NFL Draft Matchup.
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This is a draft matchup of two of the most intriguing prospects in the NFL draft. In one corner you have the 6’1 former wide receiver Josh Jackson who some perceive as a one-year wonder and in the other corner you have the former JUCO star Mike Hughes that played only 1 year of FBS ball. The similarities between these corners doesn’t stop at only having 1 year of production at the highest collegiate level but they both have room to grow from a technical standpoint. Jackson and Hughes are raw prospects that often times use their athleticism over their understanding of the position. The sky is the limit for both of these prospect and a team will more than likely pounce on them somewhere in the first round. After all, the cornerback position in one of the most sought after positions in the league.
To be honest I’ve gone back and forth in ranking the top 4 corner prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft. All four, including Josh Jackson and Mike Hughes have attributes that are at the top of the charts but also all four have glaring holes they need to improve at the next level. Jaire Alexander has top notch instincts and ball skills, Denzel Ward is amazing at mirroring receivers from a technical standpoint, Jackson has elite ball skills and size and Hughes might have the highest ceiling of them all with his quickness and aggressiveness in the run game. After the dust settled and I was forced off the fence I ranked Jackson at number 2 and Hughes at number 4. If you know anything about me and what I love from the corner position, then you know it’s all about ball skills. Can you perform at the moment of truth? Jackson is the best at it in the class and even though he has some hiccups with run support and man-to-man technique, I believe a team can stick him in a deep third zone while he improves his footwork/back pedal. Hughes is no slouch when it comes to ball skills with 11 pass breakups and 4 interceptions but I believe Jackson definitely has the edge in that area plus the advantage in technique by a small margin. Watching Hughes, he jumps off the tape with his movement skills by always attacking downhill and gliding to the football but his footwork at the top of receivers’ breaks kept jumping out to me as well. Hughes will need to improve his technique as he often times has his back to the quarterback when he is releasing the football which makes it easier for receivers to catch the football. Once Hughes improves in this area with more film study and pattern recognition then the sky is the limit. That being said give me the ball skills of Jackson in this matchup.
Would I be wrong to say Joshua Jackson is a corner back playing wide receiver? By this I mean he has fantastic ball skills and at times runs the route better then the receiver he is covering. Honestly it’s outstanding and fun to watch. The moment of truth is his best attribute, to be able to turn, run, locate the football and get it at the highest point with such ease and not lose speed or concentration as if the quarterback is throwing him the football. He’s at his best when he can look into the backfield and keep his eyes on the quarterback. What aids in his ability to be exceptional at the moment of truth may be his ultimate down fall. The amount off coverage he played while at Iowa may regulate him to the category of a zone cornerback. Now I will say this may be a scheme thing for Iowa and that’s what they wanted him to do. The other wart in his game is his inability to be a factor in the run game. Not sure if that’s a disinterest in wanting to stick his head in there or the inability to get off blocks which was evident. The other side of this draft matchup features Mike Hughes who has one flaw (outside of the off the field allegations) his technique to turn and run properly. Awkward and non traditional whether it be his feet, hips or a combo of both it causes him to be a beat late on passes he could get his hands on or making the quarter back go elsewhere with the football. If that can be remedied or mastered some team will have a hell of a corner back. He does everything else close or at an elite level from challenging folks at the line of scrimmage and re-routing them with such vitriol and disdain, to making a play on the ball looking to score, to making a play on the ball-carrier with violent intentions.
NFL Comparison: Joshua Jackson – Richard Sherman; Mike Hughes – Chris Harris Jr.