Khalil Hodge, ILB, Buffalo
Last but not least is inside linebacker Khalil Hodge, who was a tackling machine while at the University of Buffalo. He ranked second in the nation in tackles with 153 and pulled a Pro Football Focus grade of 87.6 — an elite grade. Per PFF, he also ranked 20th in run stop rate at 12.2% and ranked fifth in tackling efficiency at 25.40. He also ranked seventh in yard per cover snap at .29.
One of his best assets is his gap control. He also has one of the best shedding techniques I’ve seen in this weaker linebacker class. He uses that developed technique and his impressive burst to get to the ball carrier in a quick fashion.
An underrated aspect of Hodge’s game is his ability to cover the middle of the field. He works well in zone coverage and can take on the opposing teams tight end or running back due to his speed. However, out of all of his abilities, the best one is his football acumen. He simply has the ability to quickly read a play and make proper adjustments.
Due to not being the flashiest player in the draft, I see a lot of teams passing on him. I can see him dropping to the mid rounds. Steve Keim should pay attention to his film and his abilities to lead a defense if need be. He should be a starter by year two.
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