2017 NFL DRAFT

Bucky Hodges, TE

School: Virginia Tech  |  Conference: ACC
College Experience: Junior  |  Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Height/Weight: 6-6 / 257 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
7462-3

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.57--18 39-4.45-
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.57--18 3911'2"4.45-

Player Overview

Hodges starred as a dual threat quarterback in high school and redshirted his first season at Virginia Tech while transitioning to tight end. Once on the field for the Hokies, however, Hodges quickly emerged as a standout, earning Freshman All-American honors (USA Today) by setting a new school record for freshmen tight ends with 45 receptions for 526 yards and six touchdowns while starting just 10 of 13 games.

He proved in 2015 that his impressive debut was hardly a fluke, hauling in another 40 catches for 530 yards and six touchdowns (and running for another 27 yards and a score) to earn Second Team All-ACC accolades.

Few offenses center their attack around a tight end and the Hokies are no different, using Hodges more as a complementary threat than the focal point. Evidence of this comes with the inconsistency in his scoring, with his six touchdowns in 2015 spread out in three games against Duke (three touchdowns), Purdue (two) and North Carolina (one). As such, while he has enjoyed impressive production from a season-long perspective, there is optimism that he could take his game to an entirely different level in 2016 with greater game-to-game consistency.

Of course, NFL scouts may not be as concerned with Hodges' consistency at this point because of the fact that he has only been playing the position for a few years. It is Hodges' perceived upside (and not his current statistics) which has them excited.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: What makes Hodges special is his raw combination of size, strength and athleticism. He is a classic mismatch, towering over the defensive backs often asked to cover him and proving too fast for most linebackers.

He accelerates smoothly off the snap, showing the agility, balance and strength to escape the jam and quickly get into his routes. Hodges possesses rare speed for the position and tracks the ball well over his shoulder, making him an ideal threat down the seam. He shows zero hesitation in going over the middle, extending to collect difficult passes in traffic and is bullish after the catch, often dragging would-be tacklers yards downfield.

Hodges shows vision and agility after the catch, as well, generating four 40-plus yard plays over his first two seasons. His height and leaping ability make Hodges an especially difficult matchup in the red zone, where the Hokies often flanked him out and simply threw jump balls to him.

WEAKNESSES: Like a lot of today's college tight ends, Hodges is essentially an overgrown wide receiver. Though he possesses size and aggression, Hodges rarely was used by the Hokies as a traditional in-line blocker. He shows awareness and competitiveness while blocking for teammates, but is a work in progress in this area, currently proving more of a pest than a punisher to opponents.

Critics will point out that Hodges still has plenty of work to do as a route-runner. Too often he has relied simply on his size and speed to get open at the college level, rounding off his breaks. Further, he has developed some unnecessary habits of body-catching and occasionally jumping needlessly to haul in passes.

IN OUR VIEW: In terms of the size, speed and strength package, Hodges might just be the freakiest pass-catcher in the country. If committed to polishing his game, the future looks bright for Hodges with a possible first-round selection waiting for him.

--Rob Rang (@robrang), 9/19/16

 
 
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