Alphonso Hodge was one of the top shut down cornerbacks in the Mid-American Conference in 2004. One of his attributes is his 4.36 speed and his ability to tackle opposing wide receivers. He is affluent in supporting the run and made 52 tackles (41) solo last season as a senior for the Eagles.
He'll be in the hunt for one of the nickel spots for the Chiefs this upcoming season. It's obvious the Chiefs were not happy with 2003 third round draft pick Julian Battle and undrafted free agent Benny Sapp, who still needs more time to develop. With that said this pick makes sense for the Chiefs.
The knock on Hodge is his ability to locate the ball but with great closing speed; he has the skills to close on a receiver quickly. Even though Hodge has zero career interceptions for the Redhawks that fact has not swayed his confidence.
"I understand the Chiefs play a lot of man coverage and they like tough (physical) corners. And I feel as though that's what I do. So I feel that I can come I and help this year," said Hodge. "I'm going to come there and do the best that I can to contribute to the team for the 2005 season."
One thing that helped Hodge garner some of his confidence was practicing every day against last years NFL Rookie of the Year; quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They battled many times on the practice field.
"Yeah, Ben and I came in together so we're really close friends. He won a lot and I won some of the battles," said Hodge.
Still being a fifth round choice is no guarantee that he'll make the Chiefs roster in 2005. But after talking with him, he's dead set on not trying to copy anyone else's game..
"I want to be Alphonso Hodge in the NFL. I want to try to make my own name in the NFL," says the Chiefs fifth round pick.