STRENGTHS - Under-rated athletically, Hodges has the speed and range to make plays all over the field against the run and in coverage. Smooth and fluid dropping into coverage, Hodges can flip hips to adjust easily. He shows excellent awareness picking up TE and covering him perfectly in man coverage on attempted naked boot-leg pass to TE. Does a good job reading QB/Pass so that he can transition and close quickly on pass to make good tackle right after the catch. When he has space to work with, he uses his quickness and agility to change directions fast to avoid blockers and make tackles on runs to his side. While not a big linebacker, when he keeps his knees bent and uses hands well to take on pulling offensive lineman, he can hold ground, sheds and makes tackle. He gets started towards the ball quickly on running plays away and has the speed to easily track down the ball carrier in backside pursuit. A versatile defender and productive special teams player make him a valuable asset to his team.
WEAKNESSES - A player who looks and plays much smaller than his weight, Hodges can be tied up and blocked out of the play too easily. While he can be effective when he does everything right technically, big offensive lineman can engulf him and he becomes a non-factor. He gets bounced around moving in tight quarters and needs to get better using his hands to stay clean and work through it. Although he closes quickly enough to make tackles after the catch, he needs to prove he can get there in time to make a play on the ball.
SUMMARY - More than a decade ago, an under-sized linebacker (While he weighed 243 at Combine, he did not play that heavy during the season) like Hodges likely would have had no chance of being drafted because size and strength were viewed as vital to be effective run defenders. However, in today's pass first NFL if a linebacker lacks strength to be a force against the run and is just adequate in that area, but shines in pass coverage he has good value because linebackers who are strong in coverage are hard to find. Overall, I do not anticipate Hodges being a high draft choice, but on the third day of the draft some team it going to make a wise choice. He has the talent to develop into a quality starter if he can improve his play against blockers and should excel on special teams coverage units, which gives him more value. .