Of all the prospects in the entire 2017 NFL Draft class, Bucky Hodges very well could be the most “freakish”. At 6’5”/243 with huge hands and tremendous athleticism, Hodges is a surething to “wow” at the combine and further see an ascension in his draft stock. A WR/TE hybrid, Hodges will be a hot commodity for a numerous teams as he boasts substantial upside at the next level.
Name: Bucky Hodges
School: Virginia Tech
Class: Junior (RS)
Draft Grade: Early 2nd Round
Positives: Towering height for an outside receiver who also has good arm length and big hands that swallow the football. Body has improved every year and sports a very good height to weight ratio. Good bulk throughout. Has the body that can add considerably more weight. Has the straight-line speed to slip open against man coverage. Deceptive open field speed and will time faster than anticipated. Tremendous hip flexibility for his size. Can turn his hips which makes him a weapon after the catch. Can lean his hips down which gives him more power and explosion running routes and makes him a smaller target for defenders. Very good body control. Upper and lower body dance to the same song. Contorts his body to make difficult ceiling grabs and low to the ground throws. Very good at adjusting to poorly thrown balls. Has a huge catch radius. A monster leaper. Plucks the ball with his hands. Competitive at the catch point and works hard to get in position to make a play. Has a great playing temperament for the position and doesn’t seem to mind or even know he’s been mugged in downfield coverage. Will get held, pulled, pushed and does not react or show emotion. As soon as the whistle blows he moves on to the next play instantly and has a short memory. Has great potential as a downfield blocker due to his size, length, and athleticism which allows him to adjust well to blockers in space. A good-natured person who trusted his coaches and put his ego aside when changing positions. Good-natured and easy going. Very mellow. Respected by coaches. Smart. Honest. Durable. Relatively new to his position and has considerable upside.
Negatives: Lacks great separation speed on the outside. Inconsistent hands. Still learning how to track the ball and will sometimes have the ball hit his wrists. Let’s the ball out of hands after making the initial catch. Still learning how to use his size to his advantage. Blocking is very inconsistent and needs to focus on learning proper technique. Does not consistently hold or finish blocks on the end of the line or downfield in support of his teammates. Not naturally disposed to blocking and it may never be a strength.
Outlook: Bucky Hodges is the most intriguing big receiver in this draft. There will be much debate over his position but at the end of the day he will be running routes, catching passes and giving defensive coordinators fits no matter where he lines up. Hodges blends a lot of extremely rare qualities and is still learning how to play the position. If Hodges becomes a more consistent catcher and learns to embrace the dirty work he could become an elite player at his position. I anticipate his stock could skyrocket after the NFL combine. His current value is in the top half of the second round.