Right now, Jerry Hughes is known as the linebacker the Buffalo Bills traded linebacker Kelvin Sheppard for.
Hughes was stuck in a rut for the Indianapolis Colts mostly due to the fact that he was stuck behind Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. He was a first-round pick for the Colts in 2010 and played college football for the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs, where he had 28.5 career sacks, 40.5 tackles for a loss and was a two-time consensus All-American in 2008 and 2009.
With stats like those, the Colts likely figured they drafted a solid heir to their pass rushers, however, it seemed like Hughes never panned out as he only started seven games in three seasons with six of the starts happening last year.
That being said, this year it’ll be interesting to see if he can unseat Manny Lawson or Mark Anderson as the starting outside linebacker and contribute greatly under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Especially since Pettine values versatility and abilities to cause mass confusion as he seldom only thinks of the right outside linebacker as the sole premier pass rushing position, as some 3-4 base coaches think.
Hughes isn’t the biggest pass rusher out there at 6-foot-2, 253-pounds, however, he relies more on sheer speed and leverage due to his lower center of gravity than most bigger and stronger offensive linemen. What will Hughes do for the Bills in 2013? That’s anyone’s guess, however, with linebacker becoming a hot commodity in Buffalo he could flourish, especially when the weather turns cold and the hits seem to hurt more.