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BYU Cougars football: NFL draft stock for wide receiver Cody Hoffman is fading

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As NFL Draft 2014 approaches, BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman has to be asking himself if he made the right choice staying for his senior season. Of course his Cougars made a bowl game -- a good one at that, against great competition in San Francisco -- but his draft stock is fading fast in this CBSSports.com player projection on Wednesday, April 23.

Obviously the biggest question is how did Hoffman, who is still 6-feet-4 inches tall and 225 pounds -- which is huge for any receiver -- go from being a sure thing to someone that NFL teams were avoiding? Hoffman was projected to be a late first-round to mid-second round pick last year, had he come out early.

This year did not go as well for Hoffman. Did his academic issues play a role? Or, was it something more than that? The answer is probably both. After a decent, but not spectacular senior year in which Hoffman played in all but two games -- totaling 894 receiving yards and just five touchdowns -- he was invited to the Senior Bowl, the make-or-break pre-draft event for all graduating college football players.

He was a bust, getting one catch for just five yards -- and the Senior Bowl is the absolute last place you want to have a bad game. Hoffman’s performance spread around NFL teams who were in attendance in Mobile, Alabama like wildfire -- and negative reports about Hoffman’s ability went viral.

In this day and age, something like that will kill your reputation. The verdict: he was too predictable in his route-running and too injury-prone.

“Lean, wiry build and lacks NFL strength. Too easily out-muscled and will be pushed around by smaller defenders, especially in press coverage. Too straight-linish and upright in his movements, showing some stiffness in his routes. Needs to show better bend and stay low,” reporter Dane Brugler said in his CBSSports.com projection on Hoffman.

Of course there are reasons teams should draft Hoffman. One is his 4.65 speed at the NFL Combine was passable. Second is his wingspan for any receiver is flat-out ridiculous and he has good hands -- as Brugler also pointed out in his article.

The Dallas Cowboys seem to like big receivers for quarterback Tony Romo. As Yahoo! Sports columnist Anwar Richardson pointed out, the Cowboys like to take chances on larger receivers -- and Dallas needs a No. 2 receiver to complement Dez Bryant. St. Louis, Oakland and Tennessee are also possibilities, Richardson added.

And because there are so many teams with immediate needs at this NFL Draft, Hoffman may find a home. He may not find a guaranteed contract at the end of the proverbial rainbow -- but he’ll get a chance to prove himself on the biggest stage.

The San Diego Union-Telegraph released its Mock Draft on Thursday, April 24 and several picks after early entry Jake Murphy of Utah, it predicts Carolina will select Hoffman with the 204th overall pick in the sixth round. It’s a far cry from last year when Hoffman could have been swimming in guaranteed money and a contract worth millions.

At this point, he’ll have to live with his decision in a year when he’s ranked the 34th best wide out. Lucky enough for him, there are plenty of NFL teams needing that many wide receivers.

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