2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Scouting Report – Cody Hoffman, WR BYU

Dec 20, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; BYU Cougars receiver Cody Hoffman (2) carries the ball in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl against the San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium. BYU defeated San Diego State 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

This past year, BYU got a great deal of attention from scouts and NFL personnel because of the incredibly athletic Ziggy Ansah, who went on to be drafted fifth overall this past April, but when they went to see Ansah, one of the other players that stood out for this year’s draft is their talented wide receiver, Cody Hoffman.  Hoffman is a big, physical wide player who has been productive for all three seasons he has played for the Cougars, but making leaps in production each year.  This past season, Hoffman caught 100 passes for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns. While Hoffman was productive in terms of catches and yards consistently throughout the year but it is worth noting that 8 of his 11 touchdowns were in two of their games; New Mexico State and Idaho.  Still, this may be a function of the overall effectiveness of the Cougar offense as Hoffman is no stranger to the end zone and has had 26 touchdowns in his three seasons.  Hoffman definitely has the talent to be an NFL player and looks to be a top 100 pick as of now, but if he can continue working and refining his game, especially at the rate he has been, he has a chance to go in the top two rounds and be one of the top receivers in the draft, especially among the seniors.

Vitals & Build

Hoffman is listed at 6’4” 215lbs and looks the part of a pro receiver.  He has a broad build and appears to have a decent amount of physical strength to give smaller defensive backs a great deal of trouble and overwhelm them with his size.  His speed does not stand out much but that does not mean is slow by any stretch; it just does not stand out.  There appears to be a decent amount of potential for him to continue adding strength and improving his physical ability before he goes into the NFL, but he looked the part as a junior.

Route Running & Technique

His stance needs work; on the surface it is fine, but he bounces a little bit out of his stance on the release and should just start slightly lower.  The larger problem is the habit he needs to break, which is lining up with his arms down by his sides.  This becomes a problem when it comes to press, because by having his hands by his sides, he consistently lets opponents get in the first punch at the line and he needs to do a better job of beating the jam.  Press coverage is like a fist fight; it is a mistake to go into either without having the hands up for protection.

Once he gets into his route, Hoffman is excellent at setting up and executing moves.  The hard work and dedication in this area are evident.  He is efficient when it comes to how many steps he needs to get in and out of his breaks, enabling him to create separation in a small area.  Hoffman is good at selling intent on routes keeping opponents guessing.  Between head fakes, subtle use of his hands to gain space without drawing penalties and varying how he runs his routes, he makes it hard to read what he is going to do.  This is the best aspect of his game and looks the most pro-ready of what he does.  From digs, curls, and comebacks as well as slants, crosses, drags, posts and flags, Hoffman runs a varied route tree and does and does a great job with them to get open and give his quarterback an open target.  Hoffman is a savvy receiver that is playing the man instead of just thinking about what he needs to do in order to execute his route.

In addition to his route running, he adds another element to his ability to be a threat and show off his intelligence as a player by how well he feels what the coverage is doing and adjusting.  Instead of running a route and settling for being covered or waiting to try and do something else, Hoffman will make that determination immediately and go down the field or work back to the quarterback immediately and it works basically as an extension of the route, giving the defense one more wrinkle in which to prepare.  Typically, he will go deep, but he varies at times and what makes it so effective is that he and both of the senior BYU quarterbacks, Riley Nelson and James Lark, seemed to have a great chemistry and were on the same page that made this an extremely effective tactic.  It stands to reason that could continue once he is in the NFL.

Hands

Hoffman is a pretty reliable receiver when it comes to catching the football.  He does a good job snagging the ball out of the air with his hands and securing it against his body quickly.  His catch radius is reasonably large but it is an area he should continue working to expand.  Hoffman is extremely effective when the ball is below his shoulders and does an excellent job of catching the ball down by his ankles or going to the ground.  He needs to be more consistent with passes that are above his shoulders and head, especially when it comes to catching the ball and absorbing contact in an attempt to separate him from the ball.  An increase his strength with his hands could help him absorb impact and hold onto the ball better.  Although rare, Hoffman will have the occasional concentration related drop where he tries to run before catching the ball.  His ability to focus on the football is good for the most part, whether in traffic or near the sideline and he has shown an ability to toe tap in bounds to ensure catches count.

While having such a big frame, he does not always take full advantage of his size and occasionally allows guys get into the path of the football and break up the play.  Hoffman will extend his body for passes, but needs to get more experience high pointing the football and snatching the ball out of the air down the field.  BYU’s offense did not give him many opportunities to make plays down the field.

Run After Catch

Hoffman is not a guy who uses a ton of agility and quickness to make defenders miss regularly, but he can on occasion in small areas.  Mostly, he is a guy who is looking for a lane to run as fast as he can down the field.  He has demonstrated this high hurdle move he will periodically use when guys try to go low at him and simply jump over them and look pretty good doing it.  Hoffman does a good job of transitioning from pass catcher to run after the catch when the ball is put in a spot that enables him to run in stride.  He does a solid job of working to pick up extra yards on plays where he is coming back to the quarterback, but he is not an overwhelming threat after the catch.  For the most part, he will pick up what he is reasonably expected to pick up but when he does make a good move or finds a way into open space, it is a great bonus as he is not overly fluid, which is not too surprising given his size.

Blocking

Hoffman treats blocking like a kid being forced to eat his vegetables.  He can do it but the effort is not great and he will find himself out of position or losing blocks far too early as a result.  Hoffman tends to want to mirror block and just get in the way of the receiver than actually blocking often times.  He is easily big enough and strong enough where he could dominate opponents when he blocks but he needs to want to do it, stay with his blocks, continue moving his feet to stay in position and block to the whistle.  There are situations where his lack of effort in this area has hurt his team.

System Fit

Hoffman has demonstrated the ability to fit into a horizontal or vertical offense at this point.  He does a good job of catching passes on the move like slants or crosses and then being able to get some more yards.  He is able to set up defenders and create opportunities for himself that allow him to give quarterbacks a target and be effective in a timing offense.  He also shows the viability to work in a vertical offense as he can set up routes deep and come back to the football and again, he could be more of a vertical threat with more opportunities to prove it.  Hoffman could be a player that is counted out on few boards around the NFL as his size, ability to get open and move the chains and be a red zone threat are attractive but teams that are opting to get a bunch of smaller, more athletic wide receivers that work better in space.  Hoffman is better suited to play on the outside but can work in the slot because of his ability to run routes and manipulate defenders and there are situations where he excels in that capacity.

Schedule

Sat, Aug. 31 at Virginia
Sat, Sept. 7 vs. Texas
Sat, Sept. 21 vs. Utah
Fri, Sept. 27 vs. Middle Tennessee State
Fri, Oct. 4 at Utah State
Sat, Oct. 12 vs. Georgia Tech
Sat, Oct. 19 at Houston
Fri, Oct. 25 vs. Boise State
Sat, Nov. 9 at Wisconsin
Sat, Nov. 16 vs. Idaho State
Sat, Nov. 23 at Notre Dame
Sat, Nov. 30 at Nevada

Notable Games

Week two against Texas at home immediately jumps out with their duo of talented corners in Quandre Diggs and Carrington ByndomNotre Dame’s Bennett Jackson could be another matchup to watch, but BYU’s independent schedule gives them a number of interesting matchups from their traditional in-state rivals Utah with talented safety Brian Blechen and Utah State to playing at Virginia and Wisconsin.  Last but certainly not least is their Friday primetime matchup with Boise State.  The two teams have dodged each other as conference rivals but they look to be getting the band back together in the Mountain West and these two could be playing each other yearly soon.Notable Games

NFL Comparison

Hoffman’s game is somewhat similar to that of Marques Colston out of Hofstra and long time New Orleans Saint.  They are both big receivers with the size and reliability to get open and be a consistent target for their respective quarterbacks.  Colston has a bigger catching radius but Hoffman has a chance to extend his and having Drew Brees throwing the football helps as well.  Both are guys who can make catches to get first downs, extend drives, and are nice, big targets in the red zone.  It remains to be seen if Hoffman can have the same type of NFL career Colston has had but he should end up being drafted earlier than Colston, who went in round seven with the 252nd overall pick of the 2006 draft.

Draft Projection

It seems like a safe bet that Hoffman, as one of the top senior wide receivers in the country, will be a top 100 pick based on what he has already done, unless something unforeseen happens.  If he can continue improving and adding to his game, especially if he puts more effort into blocking for the running game and becoming a more well-rounded threat, he could end up going in the top two rounds of the draft.  Being a more consistent pass catcher in traffic and through contact, proving his viability as a down field threat and high pointing the football, and being a bigger threat after the catch could all be areas he improves this coming year, but he should at least be a viable possession receiver, red zone threat, and receiver who moves the chains and extends drives as he should have another outstanding season for BYU.

Topics: 2014 Mock Draft, 2014 NFL Draft, BYU Cougars Football, Cody Hoffman, Wide Receivers

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