Some scouts were concerned that Hodge ran sloppy routes and dropped some important passes during his stint at Ole Miss. However, he made strides towards eliminating those concerns with a strong performance during Senior Bowl week.
"I just wanted to go out there and prove that I'm one of the best," Hodge said.
WR Shay Hodge
"[I need to prove] that I can run," he said. "That I'm just as fast as everybody else."
If Hodge can take his Senior Bowl momentum into the NFL Combine, culminating his surge with a sub-4.5 time in the 40-yard dash, he could push his draft stock up to a fourth- or third-round level.
He knows better than most how much a strong offseason can change a player's projection.
"You can jump from the third to the first. I've seen it done with people from my team last year," Hodge said. "Peria Jerry, he did good at the Senior Bowl and it knocked him up to the first round."
Hodge would likely have to fall to the fourth round or later to appeal to the Chargers. San Diego, despite great depth at the receiver position, has some unsettled issues.
Vincent Jackson is coming off a Pro Bowl season but keeps getting in trouble behind the wheel and is a restricted free agent. The team is reluctant to lock him up with a long-term deal until he proves he can keep his nose clean. Malcom Floyd is also a restricted free agent, while Kassim Osgood is unrestricted and eager to find more playing time elsewhere.
Young receivers Legedu Naanee and Buster Davis have shown promise, but neither has ever topped 24 receptions in a season. And Demetrius Byrd is still a complete question mark.
All things considered, the Chargers are likely to consider Hodge on draft day if he falls to the team's perceived value point.
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Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.