- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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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.
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."
The Jets need a pass-rusher, and TCU's Jerry Hughes is a good candidate.