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Bucky Hodges, TE: An Elite Athletic Prospect, Is He A TE Or A WR?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2017 Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

Virginia Tech v Duke Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Bucky Hodges, TE
School: Virginia Tech | Conference: ACC
College Experience: RS Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-6 / 257 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Devin Funchess meets Darren Waller

College Statistics

Player Overview

Count me in the “Bucky Hodges is a WR” camp. Hodges has ridiculous measurables to go along with his speed, athleticism and catching ability. Labeling him a WR is not meant to be a knock, it’s just acknowledging where his skill set fits best at the next level. Hodges almost exclusively lined up on the outside or in the seam during his time at VT. He was mostly covered by corners and ran a lot of routes on the boundary. He looks out of his comfort level when asked to play from a three-point stance as an inline TE and his blocking leaves a lot to be desired. Hodges is an obvious mismatch for most of his competition. He has such great size and athleticism that when he stretches the field he can cause his defenders to panic and he has drawn a lot of pass interference calls against the defense. Hodges is one of the better receiving options of the entire TE/WR class but as good as he is he still suffers from the occasional focus drop especially when he is tightly covered. If he can play a bit more to his size, with more “vinegar”, and cut down on some of those drops he’s going to be a real receiving weapon as a tight end or a wide receiver.

Strengths

  • Superb height, weight, athleticism, and speed for the position. He is a mismatch physically on the field.
  • Has sneaky gradual speed and can work over the top of defenders using his body and hands to create separation.
  • Lined up virtually from every receiver position on the field and can cause damage from the outside, seam, and slot.
  • Effective as a blocker against players in the secondary.

Weaknesses

  • Inline blocking needs a ton of work. His technique is pretty bad and he needs some strength and leverage work as well.
  • Doesn’t attack the ball in the air waits for it to come to him instead. A good corner or safety it's going to come away with those 50/50 targets in the NFL.
  • Doesn’t fight off the LOS and can have his route disrupted by bigger physical corners and safeties.
  • Not the most natural of pass catchers. Will body catch and double clutch he has trouble making the most difficult grabs.

Let’s see his work:

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

I can see why people are excited about the potential of Hodges but in my view, he has a lot to learn before being starter quality at either WR or TE. Hodges is a former QB and has only been playing his current position for 3 years and is still pretty raw in some areas. Where he needs to improve most will depend on which position he ends up playing. As a TE he really needs to put it work learning the fundamentals and technique to block from a three-point stance. As a WR he needs to come down with those tough catches and attack the ball at its highest point instead of waiting for it to drop into his lap. As a general receiving option, he needs to fight and have more power and purpose off the LOS.

There is already a general concern about tight ends not reaching their potential until their second contract I think that's doubly true for a player like Hodges who has yet to grasp all the nuances of the position(s). His size and athletic ability are no doubt impressive but I can’t get over how he hasn't learned out to attack the ball yet and his catching consistency and I know it will take him some time to get there. I love the depth in this year’s TE class (WR isn't terrible either) and I think there are better and more well-rounded prospects that will be around in the 3rd instead of Hodges that can help the Redskins more quickly.