Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan is a player the Detroit Lions have investigated as a potential selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hogan met with the Lions at the Combine, and the team scouted him (and Stanford) in person at least twice last fall.
- 218 pounds
- 10 ¼” hands
- 78 40-yard dash
- 8% completions in 3+ years starting
Hogan took over as Andrew Luck’s successor as a freshman and wound up carving a very successful career in Palo Alto. His senior season showed real growth as a prospect, completing 67.8% with a 27/8 TD/INT ratio including the bowl romp over Iowa.
He’s more athletic than you might think. His 4.78 40-yard dash ranks among the best in this QB class, and his agility numbers also impress. It shows on the field, where Hogan wasn’t afraid to tuck and run or even do some read option with Heisman winner Christian McCaffrey. The Virginia native ran for over 1,000 yards in his career.
So here’s an athletic veteran starter with completion numbers well above the likes of Connor Cook or Jared Goff, a big-time winner at a prominent national program. Yet he’s widely projected as a fourth or fifth-round pick?
It only takes a few plays to observe why so many are so down on Hogan. His throwing motion is aesthetically wretched. In my blurb on Hogan for RealGM, I noted:
His arm strength is below-average, somewhat the result of a throwing motion that looks like a guy trying to throw a pumpkin over a high fence.
He drops the ball down almost below his waist and then primarily uses his elbow to provide torque, not his shoulder. It’s wildly inefficient and slow. Hogan’s deep accuracy really struggles as a result, though it does keep his short-range accuracy quite high. It’s the difference between throwing a dart and a javelin, and he’s trying to throw (awkwardly) darts even when he’s launching the ball on a 25-yard in route.
Hogan also has an overdeveloped panic gene. You can see it in the above clip against Northwestern, where he falls off the throw even with the rush still steps away. He frequently abandons clean pockets at the slightest hint of trouble. It doesn’t mesh at all with the poised leader and highly intelligent guy off the field or even on the sidelines. Pressure does strange things to people, and Hogan is no exception.
That is not a good situation for the Lions, who have ongoing struggles in pass protection up the gut. While it’s nice that Hogan can extend plays and create some with his legs, Jim Bob Cooter’s offense is designed for a quarterback to make quick throws and stand up to pressure. Those are the two facets Hogan struggles with the most.
There are far worse options for Detroit in terms of a developmental quarterback. Hogan can come in and quickly learn a complex offense, and he’s quite accurate on throws under 10 yards (76.7% per Pro Football Focus). That would allow playmakers like Golden Tate and Theo Riddick to do their thing after the catch. He should embrace being a No. 2 behind an established starter and only playing mop-up duty or filling in the occasional series when Matthew Stafford hits his finger on a helmet or rolls an ankle.
While Hogan ranks 15th on my quarterback ranking, for Detroit he would be higher up the list for those reasons. I just don’t want him before the sixth round, which is where Kent Platte had him in his athletic criterial mock draft.