The potential steal of this years draft is a perfect fit in Philadelphia

Kevin Hogan
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) passes against Oregon State during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Quarterback situation in Philadelphia has changed dramatically over the last few weeks. The long term future of Sam Bradford is still cloudy as he enters another do-or-die scenario, Chase Daniel is waiting in the wings for his time to shine and with Mark Sanchez traded to Denver, the Eagles need a third Quarterback..a Quarterback that they can groom under Doug Pederson and what is a very Quarterback friendly coaching core.

Pederson has alluded to wanting a project Quarterback numerous times since taking the job as Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles but as we get ever closer to the Draft and teams begin to prepare, the list of targetable prospects continues to change.

First there was the hype around Carson Wentz, (who is now being speculated to be taken by the Rams) and then it was Paxton Lynch. But as the Off-season has evolved and the Eagles have dramatically changed their scenario, the team are likely no longer in a position to take a Quarterback in the first round because they have far more prominent needs than a developmental third-string Quarterback. But there’s one man who’s projected to be a late round pick that has been overlooked by many.

That man is Stanford’s Kevin Hogan, a Quarterback who whilst receiving very promising scout reports is predicted to be a late round pick, but there’s aspects of his game that could not only benefit the Eagles but make him a far more interesting prospect.

Before we get to that though, it’s important to know why Hogan is expected to be drafted so late. Regardless of his emphatic Rose Bowl victory and countless impressive throws, Hogan’s criticisms are all to do with how he releases the ball. He possesses a slow and mechanically rigid release which obviously means if there’s a lot of pressure coming his way..he will fall inaccurate due to being inconsistent throwing off of his back foot.

It’s easy to look at Hogan’s stats in his final season at Stanford (27 TD, 8 INT, 2,867 YDS, 67.8% Pct) and state the obvious..he had a huge year. But what he brings to the table is a different kind of experience that could prove to give him an unprecedented edge if it comes to one day starting in the NFL

Having led his team to three Rose Bowl appearances (winning in two of them), Hogan demonstrated the qualities that not only would Doug Pederson look for in a Quarterback, but that are also present in current starting Quarterback Sam Bradford.


Pro Style Offense:
Unlike Paxton Lynch and Jared Goff, Hogan spent a lot of his time as a Cardinal under Center. Why is this important? Well for 37% of his snaps in his last Rose Bowl appearance, Hogan lined up under Center. According to NFL.Com, Jared Goff took just .2% of his snaps under center whilst fellow first round prospect Paxton Lynch took less than 10%.

The style of Offense Hogan styled his game towards is not only far more traditional than that of Lynch and Goff, but could be very close to the West-Coast hybrid that Pederson plans on implementing.  Sam Bradford is not the most impressive rushing Quarterback in the league, but when it comes to being comfortable in the pocket, seeing the field and reading the Defense..he is definitely inside the top 15. Hogan is very similar in that regard and if the Eagles are looking for a Quarterback who can grow into a starting pocket passer, they may not come more readily refined than Kevin Hogan.


The cannon:
Hogan has a fantastic arm, there’s no denying it. What’s Sam Bradford’s biggest strength? Making deep throws down the field. Hogan shares that strength and can make fast reads before slinging very accurate passes down the field for big plays. His knowledge of the game means he can outwit Defenses, exploit mismatches on plays and drive home the big yards as we have seen time and time again..his 67.8% accuracy proves that.


The rush:
Alex Smith evolved a lot over the course of last season. With 498 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, Smith began to not only escape from pressure when needed..but become much more comfortable when rushing for extra yards. The Quarterback had the most single season rushing attempts of his career and gave the Chiefs an extra element of play.

An inch shorter than Smith, Hogan rushed for 1,249 yards and 15 touchdowns during his time at Stanford. Ranking inside the top-5 Quarterbacks in the 40-yard dash at the combine, Hogan is a playmaker and whilst he isn’t exactly a Cam Newton or a Russell Wilson, he can handle his own and get out of danger if needed..something that could be very useful in Philadelphia. Especially if Pederson is looking for a Quarterback that already possesses the fundamentals to succeed in his West-Coast hybrid Offense.


Game management:
This is the most important asset that Hogan possesses by a mile. When he got to the line of scrimmage, Hogan handled everything. Audibles, plays, pass checks..everything. A true “student of the game”, Hogan understands how to run an Offense..especially in a Pro-Style that is close to what Pederson is likely to run. Arguably the most mentally prepared of any Quarterback in the draft, Hogan has led his team down the field in “clutch” scenario’s countless times. According to Joel Klatt, Hogan has the highest average Quarterback rating of the 15 top names in critical situations.

2012 vs Oregon State — Down by 9 at one stage, Hogan rallied his Offense and threw a game-winning Touchdown pass with just over 5 minutes remaining. .

2012 Conference Championship game vs UCLA – Down 7 in the final quarter, Hogan was able to score a crucial touchdown prior to his teams game sealing field goal.

2014 vs Washington – Tied in the fourth quarter, Hogan was able to score a five yard rushing touchdown after leading his team to the redzone and win the game.

2015 vs Notre Dame- Stanford didn’t take any timeouts with 20 seconds to go. Why? Because they believed that Hogan knew how to manage the game, deal with a lot of pressure and lead his team to a game winning field-goal with a 27-yard pass completion to Devin Cajuste.

One of the big criticisms of Chip’s system was that the Quarterback would walk up to the line of scrimmage and throw the pass that Chip wanted, to who he wanted. That’s expected to change massively under Pederson and Bradford has openly stated he’s looking forward to being able to have much more say on how the Offense functions on the field.

Hogan’s knowledge of the game is absolutely remarkable and he is by far the most mentally ready to start in the NFL of any Quarterback in this years draft. But put him behind Sam Bradford and a career backup in Chase Daniel, surround him with the likes of Frank Reich, Doug Pederson and Quarterback coach John DeFilippo who was able to help mould Derek Carr and you could very easily see him develop into a franchise guy.

Is he perfect? No. Did he see as much game time as Lynch, Goff and Wentz? No. Does he have a slow release? Yes…but can he lead a team, make a tough audible decision and make throws at crucial times in games? Absolutely. If Hogan is still available by the Eagles are on the clock in the third round or later, they shouldn’t hesitate in drafting the former Cardinal.