Should the Chicago Bears draft Khaleke Hudson from Michigan?
Khaleke Hudson was brought to Michigan to play a similar role to Jabrill Peppers in their defense. He is arguably an over-sized safety, or potentially an undersized linebacker depending on how you look at him.
As a freshman, Hudson worked mainly on special teams but stepped in as a starter for the final three years of his career. Hudson is interesting for the Chicago Bears because they need depth at linebacker and safety. How would Khaleke Hudson fit?
Below is a measurable comparison web for Khaleke Hudson. You will notice this does compare him to linebackers, which is where he worked out at the combine. In that area, he is smaller, but you can see the higher bench press total. Does the above-average athleticism outweigh the size in this smaller, faster, NFL?
Hudson has the size and foot speed to get physical with underneath routes against tight ends. He is best when in man coverage against bigger slot receiver threats. Hudson also shows quickness and willingness to get downhill. He is a three-year stud on special teams and has consistently made plays in the backfield.
He is a bit feast or famine against the run. He can attack downhill, and slither into the backfield. However, he struggled mightily to disengage in the box. He was much better attacking off of the edge against the run, which is not where he would play in the NFL.
He has good speed to match tight ends underneath, but too often got shredded against quicker slot receivers on crossing routes over the middle. His deep speed is not helpful.
NFL Comparison for Khaleke Hudson
Looking at the list of comparable players by size and athleticism, you see a mix of safeties and linebackers, as Hudson is right in that tweener mold. Two of the better examples would be Adrian Amos, a safety, and Matt Milano, a linebacker.
Take a look at their physical profiles.
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It is worth noting Milano and Amos were both fifth-round picks. However, both started their careers as depth special teams assets. Then, as they grew, they found roles as starters in talented defenses. Neither is considered a playmaker, but they do their job.
This is the type of career that Hudson should strive for. Using special teams to work into an NFL starter. His coverage against tight ends can help him get on a football field. While the floor is certainly lower, these are good ceiling projections for Hudson.
Fit with Chicago Bears
Knowing that Ryan Pace has drafted a box safety from the Big 10 with special teams experience and versatility in Adrian Amos, he certainly could be in play for Khaleke Hudson in the fifth round. Hudson is also a great fit because he can check boxes at safety and linebacker.
Once the Bears get their hands on him, they can find his best fit, but they know that he can slide down into the box, and cover tight ends. They also know he provides year one value with special teams play. With a profile similar to Amos, round five seems like a great area for Hudson. Should the Chicago Bears take that chance?