Colts Trade Jerry Hughes To Bills, Cementing 2010 Draft Class As An Abject Failure

Scott Boehm

With Hughes traded to Buffalo, only three players remain from Indy's 2010 draft class, which included eight players selected.

And thus, the failed experiment that was the 2010 NFL Draft class for the Indianapolis Colts is now a complete flop.

With the trading of 2010 first round draft pick Jerry Hughes to the Buffalo Bills, only inside linebackers Pat Angerer (2nd round), Kavell Conner (7th round), and defensive end Ricardo Mathews (7th round) remain on the team out of 8 players picked that year.

Of those three, I'd say Conner is in the best position to stick around long-term. Angerer looks ill-suited at inside backer in a 3-4 scheme, and Mathews will have to compete with high-priced free agent signings like Ricky Jean-Francois for a roster spot in August.

In exchange for Hughes, the Colts get inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

Hughes was the No. 31 overall pick in the 2010 draft, and was hailed by then-Colts vice chairman Bill Polian as "the elusive third rusher" the franchise had been searching "seemingly forever" to acquire. Despite his impressive speed, Hughes never lived up to expectations.

In fact, to put it bluntly, the guy just plain sucked.

Hughes played so poorly his rookie year he barely saw the field. Even on special teams - an area one would think Hughes would excel given his speed and athleticism - he was an abject disaster as evidenced by his poor play on the game-changing Antonio Cromartie kickoff return near the end of Indy's eventual 2011 playoff loss to the New York Jets. Incidentally, that game was the last time Peyton Manning ever suited up in a Colts uniform.

Yeah, I'm still bitter about that loss. Our team's last game with Peyton Manning at the helm was a loss to Mark friggin Sanchez in the playoffs. That's like losing a rock-paper-scissors game to a person with no hands.

Hughes played even worse in his second season, earning only 6 tackles and a lone, single, solitary sack despite seeing action in 12 games. The firing of Bill Polian and coach Jim Caldwell in 2012 - followed by the hiring of current general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano - was seen as the next, last chance for Hughes to prove himself in Indianapolis. With the Colts switching to a 3-4 base defense, Hughes would move from defensive end to outside linebacker, a position better suited for his 6'2, 254 pound frame.

Hughes himself even said he was looking forward to a "new set of eyes in there in the organization" that would "open up opportunities for some of us young players."

Hughes responded with a very pedestrian 29 tackles and 4 sacks in 2012.

In return for Hughes, the Colts are getting a very production inside linebacker in Sheppard. He started 15 games for the Bills in 2012, earning 56 tackles and 2 sacks.

To put that into perspective for you, Sheppard had more tackles in one season than Hughes has in his entire three-year career.

Sheppard was taken in the third round of the 2010 draft, No. 68 overall. He looks to fill the spot occupied by Moise Fokou last season, though Sheppard's name will never give me the needless joy Fokou's did.

Obviously, we wish Jerry Hughes well with his new team. Though he was a bust in Indianapolis - and yes folks, he was indeed a bust - perhaps he can turn things around in Buffalo.

The failure of Hughes to amount to anything worthwhile is yet another dent in the resume for famed front office executive Bill Polian, who spent the majority of the 2013 NFL Draft weekend working as an analyst for ESPN. Sure, Polian will one day be enshrined in Canton, Ohio's Hall of Fame, but his final five years in Indianapolis were marked by several disappointing draft selections, which include names like Tony Ugoh, Quinn Pitcock, Anthony Gonzalez, Mike Pollak, Kevin Thomas... and now Jerry Hughes.

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