Commentary

Jets are looking for a pass-rusher

Jerry Hughes of TCU should be available at No. 29, and has a lot to get excited about

Updated: April 21, 2010, 7:12 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

Leading up to the NFL draft on Thursday, ESPNNewYork.com is taking a look at the Jets' needs and the players they might draft to address those needs. Up first, the Jets' most pressing need is a pass-rusher. We've looked at Jared Odrick and Everson Griffen -- next up is Jerry Hughes as the possible 29th pick of the draft.

[+] EnlargeMoore/Hughes
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesJerry Hughes of TCU is a player on the Jets' radar.

Jerry Hughes

Position: DE/OLB
School: TCU
Height: 6-2
Weight: 255
Age: 21

STRENGTHS: With 58 tackles and 11 sacks for TCU last year, Hughes could be the pass-rusher the Jets are looking for. Unlike Odrick, he isn't projected to go so high that he would be out of the Jets' reach at No. 29. Hughes ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He is a versatile and quick defensive player, and would fit well into a system like Rex Ryan's which might ask someone to play up or down. He has exceptional tackling skills coupled with good closing speed.

WEAKNESSES: Hughes is smaller than most at his position, which is why he isn't projected to go a lot higher in the first round. He might not be as strong against the run as he is against the pass.

MEL KIPER'S TAKE: "Hughes doesn't have great size, but he has the skills to be either a 3-4 OLB -- and thus could have his name called by New England, Arizona or a couple of others -- or he could be a fantastic pass-rusher in the mold of a Dwight Freeney."

Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. You can follow her on Twitter.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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