Lions Claim Gritty Former Rams Defensive Back on Waivers

JuJu Hughes

Getty Cornerback JuJu Hughes before a 2020 Rams game

The Detroit Lions aren’t wasting any time getting ready for the 2022 season, and have already made another waiver claim to try and set themselves up for success.

Detroit claimed safety JuJu Hughes on waivers from the Los Angeles Rams, and Hughes represents the latest underrated addition to the team as they look to find young players to improve their secondary and round out their roster for the future early in 2022.

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NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero was the first to report the news that Hughes was being claimed by Detroit. The Lions quickly confirmed the report with a tweet of their own on Tuesday.

As Pelissero explains, the signing is deferred until after the Super Bowl, which means the Lions will have to wait a while until Hughes is officially on the team. His addition is an interesting one given the fact that Detroit defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant would know a lot about his talent having coached him with the Rams. The same can be said for Brad Holmes, Detroit’s general manager, who likely had a huge hand in scouting Hughes given his title with the Rams.

A Hughes claim will not make a ton of noise in January, but it’s the kind of move that could help the Lions for future depth, which is something all good teams have in common. After how solid Holmes’ eye seems to have been at cornerback this year, Hughes is the kind of player who could make plenty of future noise.

Hughes’ Stats & Highlights

Hughes is clearly an intriguing talent that Brad Holmes will know given his connection with the Rams and their scouting department. Hughes has been on the Rams for two years and only has 4 tackles to his name, but is an interesting player given the grit and toughness he plays with on the field. In college, Hughes played with Fresno State and had a decent career, putting up 247 tackles, 22 passes defended and 7 interceptions during his career with the Bulldogs. Here’s a look at Hughes putting in work during college:

Fresno State DB Juju Hughes Highlight Reel – 2019 Season | StadiumDB Juju Hughes stepped up his physicality in 2019, recording a career-high 47 solo tackles and 80 total, while also intercepting two passes. Take a look at Hughes' best plays from the most recent campaign here. Stadium keeps you connected to your favorite teams with world-class sports content that you can access anytime, anywhere. Featuring…2020-01-11T00:54:26Z

Based on the tape, it looks as if Hughes is a gritty player who has his best football in front of him and is capable of getting after it in between the lines. Given the way Hughes plays and what the Lions know about him, it could be a big move to have him in the mix.

Lions’ Secondary Full of Rising Talents

Detroit has done a good job to find some players who can make a difference in the room. At cornerback, the team witnessed production from a pair of undrafted free agents in AJ Parker and Jerry Jacobs. The play of both looks like it will be good enough to shore up the position into the future. In addition to those players, the Lions watched as Amani Oruwariye became a star this season, and the team still has Jeff Okudah on the roster, though he will be coming off injury in 2022. Additionally, the team will have a player in Ifeatu Melifonwu looking to take the next step at cornerback from his rookie year. Add it all up and there is certainly reason to feel positive about the future of the group moving forward.

Adding a young player like Hughes to the group might only provide an additional advantage to the secondary, and he could go into the offseason as someone to watch to perhaps steal a role for the future.

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Jessica Mann
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