When the Rams entered the 2021 NFL season, there wasn’t much thought paid to a lesser-known defensive back named Juju Hughes. We can dial back to the first time that we learned of JuJu Hughes arriving at the LA Rams roster as a 2020 undrafted free agent rookie. While he is a relatively inexpensive extension for the team, there’s much more to love about this guy than the price tag.
Hughes is a hybrid defensive back, having played practically all secondary positions during his collegiate career with Fresno State. As such, he is a plug-and-play defensive back who has bailed the LA Rams out of some tight roster spots more than once. So far, he has been primarily a special teams player, active in covering punts and kickoffs. But he has seen work in the Rams defensive secondary in 2021 as well.
Versatility is valuable
At 5-foot-11 and 188-pounds, Hughes is developing that niche of safety with cornerback cover skills. While that is not a priority in the defensive strategy of Raheem Morris, Hughes could see a sizable increase in his role in 2022. So far this season, the Rams have had a tight rotation that primarily uses Taylor Rapp and Jordan Fuller. But when Rapp’s workload was lightened, the Rams gave Hughes the nod.
While his role has plenty of room to grow, he has done very well in his limited role, and he is an ideal player to bring back for another go, even if only in a special team’s role next year. But the name of the game in defense is versatility. Hughes is extremely versatile.