An Athletic Big Man, Who Moves “like a Cat”
Montori Hughes is a big man. 6-4, 330 pounds, or 340 according to Ryan Grigson. Perhaps it is fitting that his surname sounds just a little bit like “Huge.” No doubt his size and strength were very appealing traits when the Colts decided to a leap of faith on him.
One thing many people would not expect, especially for a third day draft pick, is that Hughes is relatively agile for such a large guy. So enamored was Ryan Grigson that he and his staff decided to trade back into the 5th round (giving up a 2014 4th round pick) and nab Hughes before anyone else could take him.
“He’s 6-4 and change, 340 pounds, and he can move like a cat,” Grigson said of Hughes. “There are just very few human beings that have that ability. In this defense and he played all three spots at Tennessee Martin. He was a big recruit at Tennessee.
“He came in here on a visit and knocked everyone’s socks off, looked everyone in the eye and just really made a great impression. His film spoke for itself. Every draft, every year since I’ve been doing this, you find very small handfuls of men and athletes that are this big and can bend and accelerate and decelerate and move laterally like this guy can.”
A Rocky Past in the Volunteer State
Hughes looked not unlike a future NFL player early on at Tennessee, but academic and maturity issues derailed his higher profile route to the NFL. He ended up finishing his college playing days at the University of Tennessee-Martin after being dismissed in 2011 by Tennessee coach Derek Dooley. .
Playing for a smaller school, he flew under the radar a bit and wasn’t early draft material because of his rocky past and lower level of competition. For a 5th rounder, however, he could prove to be a valuable addition, if, as Grigson and Pagano believe, he has matured considerably since he was jettisoned by Tennessee.
The Colts will be hoping Hughes has his head on straight and will put in the work to become a solid NFL player. Hughes believes he has learned from the whole UT to UT-Martin experience. “You know everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Just learning how to humble yourself, like I said, going to work every day, knowing that you got goals in mind, and what you want to do in life. Anything is possible if you just work hard.” This guy can pack more athlete clichés into a sentence than Peyton Manning, but he sounds sincere.
What Position is he, again?
Interestingly, Montori Hughes is not listed as a nose tackle on the Colts website, at least not yet. They are currently calling the big man a defensive tackle, which, in the hybrid 3-4 defense, is the same as a right defensive end, who lines up between the nose tackle and the right outside, or “rush” linebacker.
Hughes, of course, says doesn’t mind which spot he plays along the defensive line. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I feel like I can fit in at any slot across the board and I feel good in the middle, but wherever they need me, you know, go to work.”
When asked where he believes the Colts would like him to play, Hughes leaned more toward the middle of the line (a.k.a. Nose Tackle), saying, “I’m pretty sure they like me in the middle, but like I said, it’s whatever helps the team and just work hard every day and do whatever I have to to try and win a championship.”
Grigson's Low-Risk Gamble
In the late rounds of the draft, a good GM will take some gambles. The average third day draft picks doesn’t become a star, and many of them have relatively short, anonymous careers. To find the diamond in the rough – does 2003 5th rounder Robert Mathis ring a bell? – Teams have to look at small school players with good measurables, players overcoming maturity problems, or a guy who’s stats or draft stock plummeted because of an injury.
Last year, the Colts gambled on an injured player from a powerhouse school in the 5th round, taking Josh Chapman, the ever-popular former Crimson Tide Nose Tackle. This year, they cast their lot with Montori Hughes, a small school guy who is looking for a second chance after derailing his career as a teenager.
These types of calculated risks are a great way to unearth talent beyond 2-3 year depth players in rounds 4 through 7. If the player sticks and turns out to be special, it’s a good pick. If they turn out to be just a good, hard-working depth player, it’s still a good draft pick.
As always, all quotes are courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
And you can stop by and like our Facebook page for article links, updates, and other Colts-related content.
You take a few calculated gambles in the later rounds. If he has truly matured, this pick could be an absolute steal.
I think the reason he's here and will see time is the rotation. I think Grigson (and Pagano) like the idea of a guy that can slide from DE to NT based on down and distance. That way you have a guy like Chapman or Franklin in for 1d and 2d. Hughes could then rotate into the NT for pass plays without giving up an 8yd draw play.
I posted earlier here. And I know there have been several responses as I see them in my email. Yet, as I am posting this, it is showing no comments. And the posts that showed up in my email, are not here so that I can respond to them.
Is this just my computer? Is anyone else having this problem? This has been the case for me for the last few weeks.
As valuable (and rare) as a good nose tackle is... I certainly think that the risk was worthwhile.
Still, if you have a 6'4" 340 pound guy who can "move like a cat", I would have thought he would have been gobbled up by a team before the 5th, regardless of what his issues are or where he was playing.
And since I didn't catch many UT-Martin games (or any), who the heck at Austin Peay or Tennessee Tech was blocking this guy?
A man Chapmans size and weight with a serious knee injury is a risk to come back 100%. He hasn't played 1 down for us . Only time will tell if he can. I wish him the best of luck.I had something very similiar yrs. ago and did play again but many can't.
Is it possible for Chapman and Hughes to play at the same time? I mean, I know it's literally possible, but does it make sense to put two huge guys like that in at the same time on the D-Line?
@couchspud44 I completely agree with the article and your assessment. You need to hit on a later round pick or two (which the Colts always seem to do) but it can be a crap shoot. I think Both Hughes and Boyett can be great finds. Time will tell.
@couchspud44 I agree. That late in the draft, if he's an average backup, it's a good pick. But I think this guy can be much more. Thanks for commenting, btw
@DougEngland It was acting screwy with me earlier, too. Seems to be working fine on my iPhone, but I couldn't see any comments on the computer this morning. I'll check into it if it continues. Likely a problem with Livefyre.
@DougEngland He wasn't playing anyone NFL caliber. I agree about thay quote. It's hilarious. He can get around for such a hefty fella, but "moves like a cat" cracks me up. Still, I'm curious to see what he can do. I like them taking a shot on someone with the potential to be better than the average late round pick (same thing with Boyett)
@RvHauler1 ACL surgery has come leaps and bounds even in the last ten years. As you say though, time will tell.
@buymymonkey I mean Grigson said he "moves like a cat" and can play all of the positions. So chapman at NT and Hughes at DE, with Werner rushing form Hughes' side? recipe for rookie success? maybe?
@buymymonkey I asked my self the same question. In that case would the Colts have to invent some new NFL position monikers, lets say DF (Defensive Flanker) and VOLB(Very Outside Line Backer)
@buymymonkey Goal line D packages?
@cwjwl @couchspud44 I have Boyett's conference call transcript. Was going to write about him or maybe Thornton tonight if I can finish up a few other things.
@MarcusDugan @DougEngland I watched all the stuff I could find on youtube, and he moves like a sub-300 lineman, it's true. He plays kind of high and doesn't seem to have that really low center of gravity, but held up well against double teams in the super bowl and even got occasional pressure up the middle from the nose or 3-tech spot. In college he played all three spots in a 3-4 line. He's not gonna be Haloti Ngata, don't worry, but he seems like a capable clogger if he improves his technique.
@Coltsheadben @RvHauler1 People just love Chapman. He's the type of guy you root for. It does worry me that he played on that torn ACL for most of 2011, though.
@thellamajockey @buymymonkey Announcer: "Looks like the Colts are coming out in their patented 'Wide Load' package."
@buymymonkey Heh. For once, Indy's "Jumbo" package would actually be jumbo, instead of league average. :D
@couchspud44 I don't know. He might have a slightly better chance of making the team at guard. They currently have 5 guards and 6 tackles, although one of those tackles is Linkenbach, who is basically any position but center.
O'Bryant is a speedy guy. Looks like he'll be competing with Deji Karim and Kerwynn Williams. I liked Bill Polian, to be honest, but I'm very glad, as you mentioned, that the new guys actually give a damn about the return game. I hope one of these three guys will turn out to be a weapon. Some people believe Williams could be similar to Darren Sproles, but he'll have to hold on to the ball better.
@MarcusDuganLook forward to it.
I'm wondering if the Colts are looking at moving Boston College tackle Emmett Cleary to guard and have him compete for the right guard position (or at least as a backup)?
I could also see the Colts looking at Denodus O'Bryant as a possible return man. Pagano and Grigson have put much more emphasis on having a good return game (some that's been overlooked by the Colts for far too long). Don't think he's big enough to play a major role at runningback.
There are several intriguing pick in this year's Colts draft. I agree that Boyett and Thornton could make the squad and contribute. There are a few free agents the Colts picked up after the draft that I think have a good shot of making the team.
Maybe he moves like *that* cat. :D
@Coltsheadben @DougEngland Another thing that hurt him is he didn't do great for a NT on the bench press (22 reps). But as you've probably noticed, the guy is stronger than that, maybe a lot of lower body strength. He def has the physical tools, and, based on what they've gotten out of guys like Johnson and Moala, he'll have some good coaching.