The Buffalo Bills were not done making personnel moves two days after the NFL draft had concluded. The club swung a trade with the Indianapolis Colts as the two teams swapped young linebackers.
Buffalo traded former third-round pick Kelvin Sheppard (2011) to the Colts in exchange for LB Jerry Hughes. Hughes was a first-round pick a year prior to Sheppard (2010).
Hughes (6'2" 254) played defensive end in college at TCU and started his pro career with the Colts as a defensive end in their previous 4-3 system. When the Colts switched to a 3-4 system under new head coach Chuck Pagano he moved to outside linebacker and was a subpackage rush player.
"He was a defensive end at TCU and played with his hand on the ground," said Bills GM Buddy Nix. "He did that at first with the Colts and then when they went to the 3-4 he played a little of both, but he played behind Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. So his playing time was limited and we think this will give him an opportunity to do what he does best."
He ran a 4.65 40-time coming out of college and projects to a strong side linebacker role with the Bills, who may also rush in subpackages.
Hughes has appeared in 40 career NFL games with six starts and he had a career-high four sacks last season. The Bills see him as a strong side linebacker, who can also put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
"We think he can fit at the rush end and at SAM linebacker," said Nix. "We think he can swing two positions there and then be a rusher in subpackages.
Buffalo's new coaching staff obviously felt that Sheppard was not an ideal fit in their new defensive scheme, which demands versatility. Sheppard appeared in 32 games for the Bills making 24 starts. He finished third on the team in tackles in 2012.