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2020 NFL Draft Profile: What Michigan linebacker Khaleke Hudson brings to Washington

Versatility and experience will aid Hudson’s chances of finding a home in the NFL.

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Indiana at Michigan Photo by Lon Horwedel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With Michigan standout and Heisman finalist Jabrill Peppers leaving the program for the NFL after the Wolverines 2016 season, the program had a major void to fill at the viper position. Enter Khaleke Hudson.

After Peppers was out of the picture following ‘16, Hudson had 227 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions from 2017-19. Hudson was a Michigan captain in 2019 and a major asset on special teams throughout his Michigan career.

Here are some details NFL teams will be discussing about Hudson when the NFL Draft transpires later this week.

Info

Height/Weight: 5-foot-11, 224 pounds

School: Michigan

Position: Linebacker/Safety

Projected: 7th-UDFA

Combine Results: 4.56-second 40-yard dash | 30 bench press reps | 33 inch vertical jump | 120 inch broad jump

Player Comparison: Nate Ebner

What Hudson brings to the Redskins

Hudson is tailor made to be a nice chess piece at the next level and somebody that can certainly be a star on special teams. This will be seen as a reach by Washington, but new head coach Ron Riviera is a defensive coach and should be able to find a role for Hudson to grow into and hopefully earn a roster spot with.

Strengths

  • Impressive punt blocking prowess. Blocked five punts during his Michigan career, a program record.
  • Experience. Three years with extensive snaps at Michigan.
  • Versatility. Hudson lined up at linebacker, nickel, and safety at Michigan.
  • Plus-coverage skills overall. Physical in man coverage but not overly grabby.
  • Instinctual. Part of what helps Hudson get into the opponents backfield is his football IQ and film room preparation. You can tell when he knows what play is coming. Must continue the same practice to be successful as a pro.
  • Leader. A prime example of Hudson’s leadership came with Michigan trailing against Florida in the second half of the Peach Bowl where he tried to motivate his teammates.
  • Above average speed, both lateral and downhill. Hudson’s speed and instincts help him evade linemen with finesse.

Weaknesses

  • Tentative going downhill to tackle ball-carriers at times which leads to unnecessary extra yardage for the opposing offense.
  • Tackling technique is hit and miss, doesn’t always wrap up.
  • Struggles getting past offensive linemen and tight ends when they square him up.
  • Incredibly strong for his size, but length is an issue.

Overview

Hudson’s career at Michigan may have had its ups and downs as far as production goes, but ‘playmaker’ is a term that should be thrown his way. Hudson’s film is inconsistent at times but there’s a heavy dose of highlight reel plays on his game film at Michigan that will have NFL teams considering his potential. Hudson’s versatility may be enticing for the ever-changing NFL that is now valuing players with Hudson’s skill-set more than they have in the past. Hudson is most likely to become a strong safety for the majority of his snaps on defense, but expect him to play a hybrid role with snaps at linebacker and nickel if he’s able to crack a 53-Man roster. Right out of that gate as a rookie, though, Hudson’s best chance of making an NFL team resides in his abilities on special teams as a punt blocking ace. Hudson deserves a long look on special teams by a team at the very least and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is drafted in the seventh round. However, it’s far more likely Hudson will be signed in the hours after the NFL Draft has concluded as an undrafted free agent.