NFL scouts think they know him, but they're wrong
Daymeion Hughes, cornerback, California
WHAT NFL SCOUTS ARE SAYING
Pro Football Weekly: A smooth, natural athlete with good short-area quickness. Has a knack for baiting the quarterback and jumping underneath routes. Very good production with 15 career interceptions. Very confident. Does not have the kind of speed or burst teams are looking for on the outside. Very susceptible to pump fakes and double moves and cannot recover once he gets beat. Quicker than fast, short-area zone corner who would have to be classified as a gambler. Has the instincts, ball skills and hands to make a difference in a cover-two scheme. Will likely get overdrafted for his production.
Street and Smith's: Uses hands well to disrupt timing between receiver and quarterback. Plays the ball extremely well in the air. Anticipates extremely well. Good skills in man coverage but best suited for zone coverages. Scrappy and very confident. Lacks great speed and a burst. Gambles and gets beat. "Good all-around player who as the confidence you expect of a top player at that position" says an AFC scout.
PROBABLY GETTING DRAFTED ...
Second or third round. Cornerback is always a premium position in the draft and Hughes is among the best corners available.
GUY WHO WATCHED HIM FOUR YEARS SAYS
He's taking a beating with the scouts for his speed and gambling and questionable man coverage ability. That said, I think he has the necessary combination of size, speed, toughness, confidence and innate playmaking ability to be a reliable corner. Much of the league has adopted the cover-two scheme Hughes could thrive in so it's not like he's without options on where he'll end up.
At times I found Hughes to be a near-dominant performer in a league loaded with pass-happy offenses and quality quarterbacks. That absolutely cannot be overlooked. He may not be a difference-making all-pro cornerback but he should be an average top corner or above average number two for most teams.