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Is Isaiah Hodgins the Next A.J. Green or Another Hakeem Butler? A 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile

At first glance, Isaiah Hodgins checks several boxes that we here at Rotoviz like to see. How is it that so few seem to be excited about this young A.J. Green clone?

“Whoa, slow your roll with that hyperbole!”

Okay, fine. but we’ll get to why that comp may make sense here soon. Today we’ll dive into Hodgins, the good and the bad of his profile, and what it could mean for his NFL future.

From the Beginning

Hodgins was receiving attention from some of the top schools at a very early age. While he was still a high school sophomore, coaches from the Washington Huskies and Michigan Wolverines were coming to visit him personally. Why? The young, tall, growing monster of a receiver had racked up over 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in just twelve games as a sophomore. He then went on to catch 188 more receptions for 3,000 yards and 44 scores to finish high school.

Hodgins finished up his recruiting journey as a top-300, four-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite Rating and landed with the Oregon State Beavers. He could have been rated even higher, possibly near the five star range given his production, but his physical testing scores ended up being very average. But that “lack of athleticism” certainly didn’t show up or hold him back from dominating at the collegiate level.

College Production

SeasGamesRecRecYdsRecYPRRecTDRecMSRecYdsMSRecTDMS
Career34176232213.2200.250.290.34
201711312758.920.150.120.18
2018115987614.850.240.310.29
20191286117113.6130.330.380.43

Hodgins walked in the door and was immediately one of the best receivers for Oregon State, posting the second most receptions for the Beavers as a true freshman. Then of course he followed that up with a true breakout performance as a sophomore, posting a 30% receiving dominator rating.

Part of Hodgins’ sophomore success was due to the Beavers funneling 67% of their targets and receptions to three receivers, but Hodgins was the most efficient and versatile of the bunch. He was somehow able to average 15 yards per reception and snag 59 receptions in 2018 despite playing for one of the worst offenses in college football (92nd in points/game). How? At 6 feet 4 inches, despite his “lack of athleticism,” Hodgins showed to be the only matchup problem for opposing defenses. He could line up anywhere (primarily outside left or right wide receiver), run the full route tree, and create separation at all levels of the defense.

Then of course as a junior Hodgins only solidified his status as one of the most productive receivers in the nation. He posted a 40% dominator rating and 2.79 adjusted yards per team pass attempt (70th percentile among drafted NFL prospects). All in all, Hodgins finished his collegiate career with a top five balanced production profile among all receivers entering the 2020 NFL Draft according to the Adjusted Production Index. Only Tyler Johnson and CeeDee Lamb posted better profiles prior to draft capital being built into the model. But what could that mean for Hodgins?

Comps and Draft Prospects

It’s hard to say where Hodgins will be drafted at this point, so for this exercise draft capital projection was left out of the sims and comp analysis utilizing the RotoViz Box Score Scout. But this is where the A.J. Green conversation begins.

SimScorePlayerSchoolFromToDraftPosCarRecYdsMSCarRecTDMSFinalRecYdsMSFinalRecTD/G
100Isaiah HodginsOregon State201720190.290.340.381.08
92Torrey SmithMaryland20082010580.290.370.380.92
87Nelson AgholorUSC20122014200.260.230.340.92
80A.J. GreenGeorgia2008201040.330.360.381.00
78Sammy WatkinsClemson2011201340.300.260.340.92
67Golden TateNotre Dame20072009600.340.450.391.25
53Kendall WrightBaylor20082011200.300.330.361.08
46Brandin CooksOregon State20112013200.270.300.361.23
43James HardyIndiana20052007410.360.530.351.17
42Will Fuller VNotre Dame20132015210.300.450.371.08
42Justin BlackmonOklahoma State2009201150.320.450.301.38

The first thing to note is that receivers who typically profile like Hodgins get drafted and they get drafted early (all best comps picked 60 or before). However, second, most of the receivers don’t look or play like Hodgins does except for A.J. Green. They’re both 6 feet 4 inches and skinnier in body type. Both primarily played outside receiver exclusively in college, utilizing similar route distribution in their game. The main difference will likely be eventual draft capital, but if Hodgins is drafted inside Day 2, Green still shows up as one of his top comps, and is still the only similar style player.

But the bad news is that if Hodgins misses Day 2 draft capital, one of his best comps becomes Hakeem Butler. And while Hodgins never struggled with drops like Butler did in college, they both posted similarly dominant peak and final season numbers. They’re similar in size. And both utilized similar subtle double moves and intermediate route stem adjustments to create separation on deeper routes.

The conclusion? Hodgins has been prolifically productive at every stage of his career. His fluid movement and route running are reminiscent of a young A.J. Green. But, like any receiver, Hodgins desperately needs some draft capital to earn an early role at the next level. The NFL combine process may be the key to separating himself just enough to get there. For now, tuck his name away on your list of “must own productive studs if drafted early” and continue prep throughout this busy rookie analysis season.

Image Credit: Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Isaiah Hodgins.

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