Virginia Tech Junior
He is a confident corner that has good speed and athleticism. Has the speed to recover even when he plays with sloppy technique. Has good closing burst on the ball after the catch. Can drive on comebacks and curls to break up the pass. Does a good job sticking his hand in there to break up a pass before the receiver can secure it. Does a good job keeping things in front of him. Shows ability to recognize screens and underneath throws, and has the burst and instincts to close and break up the throw. He can turn and run with receivers, playing with good burst out of his breaks and transitions well there. He can stick with most receivers. Does his best work when he can keep things in front of him working in off coverage. Shows some willingness to come up and lower shoulder to deliver hit to ballcarrier and has good closing burst there. Is a dangerous punt returner if he can get daylight due to his speed, burst, and acceleration. Can slip tackles and make guys miss in the open field, and if he can get things to the outside, he can take it the distance.
Struggles with his ball skills when his back is turned to the ball and quarterback. Doesn't do a good job turning to locate the pass, which causes him to lose too many jump ball situations and won't break up passes even when he has good position. Gives up too much cushion at times against the underneath thrwos. Doesn't play with consistent balance or sound technique, overly relying on his superior athleticism. Can be a bit lazy with his footwork and go through the motions at times. His confidence borders on cockiness at times. Is poor in run support, and is a very poor tackler. Rarely wraps up, and lacks the size and strength to even be an effective drag-down tackler. Is often tentative and struggles to defend the run at the point of attack and will struggle to tackle undersized NFL runners. Tends to try and cut the legs, but because he ducks his head and almost never sees what he hits, he misses a lot of tackles. Has been known to knock other teammates out of games, and himself because of his lowering the helmet. Will take some poor angles to the ball after the catch, also leading to missed stops. Dances a bit too much as a punt returner, looking to bounce the play outside rather than getting maximum yardage after making the first defender miss. Questionable whether he can get consistent yards, and will muff some punts and make some poor decisions fielding the ball, looking for the big play.
Hosley is a ballhawk, evidenced by his production as a sophomore. Much of my focus a year ago was looking at Roc Carmichael when scouting Virginia Tech, but he always seemed to stand out with his ability to generate big plays. But this year, his production fell off a bit and you saw him struggle to show those same ball skills with his back turned to the play. He is also one of the worst run-defending corners I have ever scouted. You see the superior athleticism and playmaking abilities from time to time, and on the collegiate level that is more than enough to be one of the better corners out there. But there are a lot of holes in his game that he will need to improve upon or NFL receivers, particularly the upper echelon starters will prey upon him. He has upside to be a playmaker, but he may struggle with inconsistency at the next level.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(10/1) vs. Clemson: 4 targets, 1 rec., 12 yds, 0 YAC, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 2 PD; 2 missed tackles
(11/10) at Georgia Tech: 1 tgt., 1 rec., 2 yds, 5 YAC, 0 TDS, 0 INTs; 1 key blocked, 1 penalty (pass interference)
(11/17) vs. North Carolina: 6 tgt., 4 rec., 73 yds (18.3 avg), 29 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 2 PDs; 3 missed tackles, 1 fumble (PR)
(11/26) at Virginia: 7 tgt., 4 rec., 34 yds (8.5 avg), 10 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 0 PDs, 1 missed tackle, 1 forced fumble
(1/3) vs. Michigan: 3 tgt., 0 rec., 0 yds, 3 PDs; 1 penalty (pass interference)
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, 59 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 0.0 sacks, 3 INTs, 12 PD, 2 FF, 1 FR; 18 PR, 12.7 avg, 0 TDs; 1 KOR. 29.0 avg, 0 TDs
2010: 13/13-39-1.0-0.0-9-8-0-0; 19-12.6-1; 9-21.1-0
2009: 13/0-11-1.5-1.0-0-2-0-0; 31-11.2-1; 0-0.0-0
If he develops to his full potential, the type of player he can be is a lot like Asante Samuel. Like Samuel, he can excel in a zone scheme, but has the sort of man coverage skills that can make him more than effective there. He can be a playmaker, a guy that can routinely pick off a half dozen passes each year. And like Samuel, he's going to be extremely underwhelming in run support, but more than make up for it due to his superior coverage ability. But I would doubt at that point that Hosley reaches that sort of potential. At a minimum, I think he'll be a Chris Houston when he was in Atlanta. Like Houston, he'll struggle with his ball skills at times. I think he'll make more plays in coverage than Houston did because I think he has good instincts and when he can keep things in front of him, he'll break up more passes than Houston did/does. But I think he'll have the potential and ability of a No. 1 corner, but be very inconsistent at showing it, and for the most part will create more headaches than he creates. I think in all likelihood he'll fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but probably closer to Houston than Samuel. I think Hosley will fit best in a scheme that mixes up both man and zone coverage, particularly allowing him to play off. Like Houston, he'll struggle to turn and locate the ball down the field, and you want him in a scheme that will do its best to keep things in front of him. Houston struggled against fast receivers because of that flaw in his game, while I think Hosley will do better in those matchups. It's the big receivers that worry me because he can get outmuscled for footballs and he's definitely not a guy you want trying to tackle a 210-pound receiver after the catch. I think initially, what you want is him to come in and help out in the nickel He has the athleticism you want in a slot corner, but not sure he has the discipline. And the fact that in nickel situations, it's important that you can defend the run because you're essentially becoming the third linebacker. Hosley will definitely struggle there. And unless he can improve his coverage abilities and become more consistent there, he may struggle to find extended playing time on some teams because of his deficiencies vs. the run. I think he has the potential of a No. 1 corner because of his athleticism and ability to stick with most receivers he faces. But I think unless he really irons out many of the kinks to his game, he won't consistently show that ability. And like former Tech corner DeAngelo Hall, there will be times where he looks good, but many many times when he looks bad. He's the type of player that potentially is a better player with his second NFL team (like Houston) than he is with his first. Early on in his career, a team that expects him to be more than their No. 2 or 3 guy might be setting themselves up for disappointment. But he should develop into a starter, but I'm not thoroughly convinced he be more than an average one if he doesn't pay more attention to the details of playing the cornerback position.
Chris Houston, Lions.
Hosley would have been a really nice pickup in the Brian Van Gorder scheme because like Brent Grimes, he has good ball skills and can work well in a scheme that plays a ton of off coverage and mixes in both zone and man coverage. Under Mike Nolan, it remains to be seen how good a fit, especially since Nolan has generally shown a preference in recent years to bigger press-type corners. He can still add value in Atlanta, able to push for time in the nickel. He definitely has the tools to be more of a playmaker in coverage than either Franks or Owens are there. But the struggles in run support are bothersome, and he might give up as many big plays as he makes, particularly early on. He can add depth here in Atlanta, and would have enough upside to think he might make a competent No. 2 across from Grimes a few years down the road. But it's doubtful that his play will be to a high enough level to merit him getting an extension beyond his rookie deal. His initial value in Atlanta might be as a returner, where he has much more explosive potential than Eric Weems. But unlike Weems, you can't trust him to make the consistent plays and be able to pick up 5-10 yards every time he returns a kick.
Hosley has first round talent, but never quite put it all together to merit that high a pick. I would not have any problem taking him in the Top 50 picks because he does have a starter's upside and should at least be a competent nickel early in his career.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Man Coverage: 7.5
Zone Coverage: 7.0
Ball Skills: 6.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.