NFL Draft 2017

Grade the Pick: Vikings Select TE Bucky Hodges at No. 201

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph had his best season as a pro last year, but that didn’t stop the team from adding another weapon in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. After trading with the Washington Redskins, the Vikings used pick No. 201 on Bucky Hodges, an athletic tight end out of Virginia Tech.

Hodges was the third-highest rated player left on VT’s consensus board (87) and a free-faller in this year’s class of premium tight ends. Why? Well, it wasn’t his measureables. The former quarterback led tight ends in the vertical jump (39 inches) and the broad jump (11’2″) at ths year’s scouting combine. The 6’6,” 257-pound Hokie also ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash and used that athleticism to score 20 touchdowns over the last three seasons.

According to Matt Miller, Hodges fell because of certain off-field issues, including a 2015 arrest for public intoxication. Still, at this point in the draft, taking a chance on a freaky prospect is worth the mitigated risk, especially if said player can immediately help your offense.

Hodges projects as a “move” tight end, one who can line up at receiver, in the backfield, and even as an inline blocker if needed. Pro Football Focus compared Hodges to Jimmy Graham, who is the type of player Minnesota needs in its offense. While Rudolph is a fine option as the No. 1 tight end, he doesn’t offer the same mismatch opportunity of a versatile athlete like Hodges.

Lance Zierlein said Hodges has the skills to be a long-time “touchdown maker” in the NFL, and for the Vikings, that’s a positive.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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