This might shock many in Raider Nation as well as some draft predictors who think Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith’s name would be the pick here. For them, it might shock you even more that Brooks has him falling all the way to the Saints at the No. 27 pick.
You might be thinking ‘who is Mike Hughes?’
Hughes has had quite the interesting path en route to the NFL. He grew up in New Bern, North Carolina, and attended his home-state school, the University of North Carolina, in 2015.
But an incident ensued at a frat house resulting in Hughes being suspended from the team and ultimately ending his Tar Heel career.
Hughes then transferred to Garden City Community College. He tallied 47 tackles, two interceptions, six pass breakups and three return touchdowns earning him junior college All-American honors and a spot on the UCF football team in 2017.
At UCF, Hughes made first-team All-American in the Athletic Conference with 44 tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups and three return touchdowns.
At 5-foot-11, Hughes is not the biggest cornerback, but he possesses immense toughness and the ability to jam the wide receiver at the line of scrimmage making it difficult for them to separate. He has also shown impressive ball skills and speed that should translate to the NFL game.
With Hughes’s elite burst, he could make an immediate impact in the return game (six kickoff/punt return touchdowns in college).
McKenzie, who has picked DJ Hayden and Gareon Conley, has struggled drafting cornerbacks during his time Oakland. While Conley is by no means a bust yet, getting it wrong on one more cornerback in the first-round would not look good for McKenzie especially if it is a guy who no one expects to be taken early in the first round.