The pick is in. After deciding to forgo his senior season at UCF, cornerback Mike Hughes’s NFL dreams came true Thursday night. With the 30th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected Hughes.
This is the highest a defensive player from UCF has ever been selected. This is also the first UCF player taken in the first-round since the 2015 draft when wide receiver Breshad Perriman was selected 26th overall by the Ravens. UCF becomes just one of 16 schools to have 3 first-round picks in the last five years.
Welcome to the #Vikings, @_Bigmikee1! pic.twitter.com/XqAfNe4Br8
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) April 27, 2018
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Mike Hughes, “He’s my 15th-overall player. That’s a heck of a value for the Vikings.”
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins shared his reaction on Twitter and welcomed Hughes to the team:
Welcome to the team @_Bigmikee1! Looking forward to competing in practice. #skol
— Kirk Cousins (@KirkCousins8) April 27, 2018
During his lone season at UCF, the 5’11, 185-pound Hughes picked off four passes last season while helping the Knights go undefeated last season while defeating Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Hughes is the 18th UCF defensive player selected in program history and the 11th UCF defensive back taken in the draft, according to the school.
NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks believes Minnesota is a “terrific spot” for Hughes.
Mike Hughes lands in a terrific spot with @Vikings . He is one of the most polished cover corners in the draft with a lot of technique variety. Nice fit in the scheme as a possible nickel or outside CB. #NFLDraft
— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) April 27, 2018
Hughes was also a dangerous returner on special teams, returning two kickoffs for scores while averaging 31.7 yards per return last season. He also averaged 16.6 yards per punt return last fall.
Like Cousins above, current Vikings safety Jayron Kearse welcomed Hughes to the Vikings:
Welcome to the DB room @_Bigmikee1
— HeSaidAKearseWord (@Jayronkearse8) April 27, 2018
Hughes is the third Knight selected by Minnesota in the NFL Draft. Quarterback Daunte Culpepper (1999) and defensive back Josh Robinson (2012) were both selected by the Vikings.
Hughes is now the 13th UCF player drafted in the last 10 years. The Knights have had a player drafted in 12 of the last 13 years.