By Alex Kozora
Our focus has shifted to the offseason and for the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on several draft prospects. Some of these players the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at and others will be top players that will be off the board before they select. All to make you as prepared as possible for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Breakdown of another wide receiver – BYU’s Cody Hoffman.
Cody Hoffman/WR BYU: 6’3/7 223
– Superb size and bulk with plus length (33 1/4 arms)
– Soft hands and a natural catcher
– Plucks the ball away from his body, increasing catch radius
– Good body control and can contort self to make difficult grabs
– Tracks the ball in the air really well, fantastic hand-eye coordination
– Tough, willing to go across the middle and catch in traffic
– Size makes it tough for him to be brought down
– Surprising balance and can pick up some YAC
– Length/size is an asset as a run blocker
– Four year starter
– Productive career, holds multiple BYU records
– Came up huge in bowl games
– Experience as a return man
– Limited athlete with below average long speed
– Not a natural separator who tends to round off his breaks
– Slow at the top of his stem, trouble accelerating out of his cuts
– Will lose focus and drop the occasional pass
– Not as good of a run blocker than expected for someone his size
– Workout numbers uninspiring
– Down senior year
– 47 career starts
– 2013: 57 receptions, 894 yards, 5 TDs
– Career: 260 receptions, 3612 yards, 33 TDs
– BYU leader in receptions, yards, touchdowns, and all-purpose yards
– 2013 All-Independent Team Honorable Mention
– In four bowl games: 38 receptions, 540 yards, 6 TDs
– Team’s starting kick returner as a freshman and sophomore, returned eight punts senior year
– At least one catch in 43 straight games
– Suspended for one game as a senior due to violation of team rules
– Missed another because of a hamstring injury
Similar to Quincy Enunwa, Hoffman has soft hands and catches away from his body, even if you have to tolerate the occasional drop from him. By getting his arms extended away from his body, it gives him an even larger catch radius. Displays wonderful body control and capable of making some really difficult grabs. Type of receiver that makes a quarterback look good.
Top tap along the sideline.
Doesn’t actually wind up making the catch in the clip below but you again see the body control along the sideline and ability to pluck the ball out of the air.
Can see the extent of his catch radius in the picture below.
Hoffman has superb hand eye coordination, also aiding him in making difficult catches. That trait along with his hands and body control are all shown on this touchdown snag against Georgia Tech.
A screenshot of the grab shown on a following replay.
And as Steelers’ fans love to clamor for, yes, Hoffman is a valuable asset in the red zone. Catches this contested fade for a touchdown against Boise State.
Of course, have to love his production in big games. Don’t have empirical evidence but it stands to reason he’s the most productive receiver in December of the entire draft class.
But as I mentioned, will drop a pass here and there – much like Enunwa.
Crucial one down by seven against Utah with time running out.
The larger issue that looms of Hoffman is an inability to separate. Like a lot of tall receivers, he has trouble sinking his hips and getting out of his breaks quickly. Makes his route easier to read for cornerbacks and hurts the timing of throws, especially short/intermediate routes like digs and comebacks.
Here’s Hoffman lined up in the slot in the Cougars’ bowl game. Running an out, you can tell he’s slow out of his break. Throw ends up being out in front. Though some blame still falls on the QB, it illustrates my point just the same.
In the red zone working in confined spaces, he has difficulty getting much separation. Too tall in his cut.
Not a big play wide receiver. Only had nine of his 57 receptions go for 25 yards or more in 2013.
Struggled statistically from where he was at his junior year to his senior year. Receptions, yards, and touchdowns all fell fairly drastically. BYU did pass slightly less in 2013 but Hoffman had the benefit of starting each game with the same quarterback. Three different Cougars’ lined up under center in 2012.
Didn’t workout well at the Combine or his Pro Day. Somehow ran worse at his Pro Day than Indy, something virtually unheard of. Turned in a 4.65 at the Combine while reportedly running a 4.67 and 4.7 flat at BYU’s Pro Day. Had the worst vertical at his position at Indy of 27.5 inches. By comparison, a whopping nineteen offensive lineman posted equal or better verticals. That was a number that was only marginally increased at his Pro Day, bumping up to 31 inches.
Fortunately, Hoffman does play better on tape than in shorts.
Having said all that, his ceiling is limited. There’s a lot to like about his game but I don’t see him rising above being a possession receiver. That connotation is worse than what it probably should be, but he’ll never become a team’s #1 receiver. At best, a solid “Z” receiver who can refine his blocking and move the sticks on third down (15 of his 17 third down receptions did so in 2013).
Someone worth looking at in the later rounds but I’ll take a player like Enunwa over Hoffman. Bit more explosion and upside.
Projection: Late 6th-Early 7th
Games Watched: vs Utah, vs Georgia Tech, vs Boise St, vs Washington (Bowl)
Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Stanford ILB Shayne Skov/a>
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford
Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
North Dakota State T Billy Turner
Boston College RB Andre Williams
South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
BYU OLB Kyle Van Noy
Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
Tennessee NT Daniel McCullers
Colorado State DE/OLB Shaquil Barrett
Alabama T Cyrus Kouandjio
Tennessee T Antonio Richardson
Central Florida RB Storm Johnson
Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
West Virginia DE Will Clarke
Louisville S Calvin Pryor
Wisconsin ILB Chris Borland
Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
Virginia T Morgan Moses
Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt
Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief
Central Florida QB Blake Bortles
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
North Carolina DE Kareem Martin
UCLA OLB Anthony Barr
South Carolina CB Victor Hampton
Clemson WR Martavis Bryant
Fresno State WR Davante Adams
Texas DE/OLB Jackson Jeffcoat
Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
TCU CB Jason Verrett
Louisiana Tech NT Justin Ellis
Baylor RB Lache Seastrunk
Rice CB Phillip Gaines
Coastal Carolina RB Lorenzo Taliaferro
LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Cincinnati TE Blake Annen
Alabama LB C.J. Mosley
Auburn RB Tre Mason
Duke CB Ross Cockrell
Missouri CB E.J. Gaines
Utah CB Keith McGill
Nebraska WR Quincy Enunwa
Penn State G John Urschel
Oregon DE Taylor Hart