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Dynasty Prospect Profile: Bucky Hodges

By Matt Schauf 9:04am EDT 4/24/17


Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech

Height: 6’6
Weight: 257 pounds
Age: 21.7


Combine Results

(percentile rank among all TEs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):

40-yard dash: 4.57 seconds (91st)
Vertical: 39 inches (96th)
Broad: 134 inches (98th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.45 seconds (31st)


College Career

Hodges arrived at Virginia Tech as a dual-threat QB, but that wasn’t the planned path for him there.

He spent a redshirt season converting to TE and then opened impressively there in 2014. Hodges started 10 of the 13 games and earned USA Today Freshman All-America honors. He led the team with 7 TDs, accounting for 36.8% of the team’s total in that category. The redshirt frosh ranked 2nd on the team in receiving yards and 3rd in receptions.

Hodges would go on to finish 3rd on the team in catches each of the next 2 years as well, 3rd and 3rd in yards, and 2nd and tied for 1st in receiving TDs. He earned a 2nd-team All-ACC nod in 2015 and then 3rd-team honors last season.

Hodges’ production proved inconsistent, however. He reached 100 yards receiving just once in each of the past 2 seasons. He cracked 50 yards just 1 other time in 2015 and 4 other times in 2016. After spreading his 7 TDs across 7 games in 2014, Hodges scored in just 3 games in 2015 and then 5 of 14 games last fall. Chalk at least some of that up to QB issues.


Film Review

(Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com)

Games watched: Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Boston College, Notre Dame, UNC (2015)

It’s fairly impressive that Hodges delivered numbers as quickly as he did after arriving in Blacksburg as a QB. But he still has a ways to go if he’s actually going to become a TE.

Across the 4 games I watched from last season – the entirety of what’s available on Draft Breakdown – I counted 3 total snaps on which he didn’t line up wide in a receiver spot. And 2 of those found him motioning into a slot position; the other lining up set back from the line.

That makes 0 inline reps. And very little blocking from the rest of the looks.

This guy’s a big WR—at least right now. And here’s a 2-play sample of his most common usage.

Most of Hodges’ targeted plays across the games I watched came on deep routes, and you can tell he can get downfield much quicker than your average TE. According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, 28% of Hodges’ 2016 receptions came on 20+ yard plays. But he’s much closer to average in that phase if you’re comparing him to WRs.

As the 2nd clip displays, Hodges fares well fighting off corners as the ball approaches. His QB also trusts him to make such plays in the shorter range.

Hodges flashes playmaking speed at times, such as on this screen …

That’s why Hokies coaches handed him 21 carries over his 3 seasons. But even that aspect shows up inconsistently. Pro Football Focus credited Hodges with just 3.0 yards after the catch per reception last season. An 8.28% career drop rate also speaks to his inconsistent hands.


Fantasy Potential

Hodges makes for even more of a projection than most rookies. The shift in coaching philosophies from Frank Beamer’s staff in his 1st 2 seasons on the field to Justin Fuente’s last year might have stunted Hodges’ growth a bit as a TE. We’ll see if his NFL team looks at him through Devin Funchess glasses and keeps the former Hokie at WR.

As a TE, Hodges will need to work quite a bit on his blocking technique before playing full time. He also needs route-running refinement. In short, don’t expect to get much immediate return if you draft this guy.

There’s obvious red-zone upside and plenty of athleticism on which to build. His low-value position for fantasy football owners, however, means that you shouldn’t bother with Hodges until at least Round 4 of dynasty rookie drafts.

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