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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
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Bills top 20 talents: No. 11 - Jerry Hughes

When the Buffalo Bills pulled the trigger on an offseason trade that sent away a young linebacker for an underperforming former first-round pick, it would be hard to imagine they thought they’d be getting as good of a return as they did. Desperately in need of a quality pass rushing option opposite Mario Williams, the Bills rolled the dice on a player that many felt was a bust.

Now with a year under his belt, the player that comes in at number 11 has the required raw skill level, on the field results and potential impact that ingrains him on to this list. He proved last year that he’s another force off the edge and quieted the doubters of his last stop.

DE Jerry Hughes

Age: 25 (8/13/88)
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 254

Why he’s here:
- The Bills traded Kelvin Sheppard for Hughes and the overwhelming return was almost immediate. Hughes had one of the best off seasons and training camps of any member of the team, and it had most wondering why he didn’t have any success in Indianapolis. Displaying a sound knowledge and array of pass rushing moves, Hughes has shown that he can get to the quarterback in the NFL. A career high in sacks (10) last season is just proof that Hughes may finally be getting it, and he’s turned that season into another offseason in which he’s borderline unblockable. If he has another high quality season to go along with his skill level, he could be quite higher on this list this time next year.

2014 outlook:
- Hughes is likely in line for an enhanced role with the Bills in 2014. They didn’t really know what to expect from him last year, and got a more than competent pass rusher that could chip in on the run on occasion. It might not be fair to expect Hughes to be an every down player, which likely paves the way for Manny Lawson to get some snaps on run downs. However, with another big season against the pass Hughes can not only put to rest his “bust” status from Indianapolis, but he can go into free agency next March as a hot commodity.

Bills Top 20 Talents
20) TE Scott Chandler
19) CB Leodis McKelvin
18) QB EJ Manuel
17) DE Manny Lawson
16) LB Brandon Spikes
15) WR Mike Williams
14) CB Nickell Robey
13) C Eric Wood
12) HB Fred Jackson
11) DE Jerry Hughes

See the top 10 unveiled all next week!

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

**Photo courtesy of The AP

Tags :  
Topics : Sports
Locations : Indianapolis
People : Brandon SpikesEric WoodFred JacksonJerry HughesKelvin SheppardLeodis McKelvinManny LawsonMario WilliamsMike WilliamsScott Chandler

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