Un-drafted Chris Hogan is turning heads around the league after strong postseason campaign.
On Sunday as the league championship games were in play, the leagues best receiver, Julio Jones, went off for 9 catches, 180 yards and two touchdowns to send the Atlanta Falcons to Super Bowl 51. That performance is what people expect Julio Jones to do week after week. However, it was the AFC title game that brought attention across the entire NFL as an unsung hero helped send Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to their seventh Super Bowl.
Chris Hogan, an un-drafted wide receiver, broke out for 9 catches, 180 yards and two touchdowns to help lead New England to a 36-17 win over the hated Pittsburgh Steelers. His 180 receiving yards was the most single season recieving yards by any receiver in Patriots post-season history.
Many question, how did Bill Belichick find yet another stud wide receiver that was overlooked by the entire league?
Bill Belichick has been known to find stud wide receivers that fit perfectly in their system. Guys like David Givens, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis and now Chris Hogan are all players that went un-drafted but somehow found a way to fit in to the Patriots offense and play crucial roles during their time here.
As for Hogan, he didn’t play four years of college football like the rest of that group, his route to the NFL was different than others. Hogan played three years of college lacrosse at Penn State and then played a year of football for Monmouth University before signing with the 49ers practice squad the following summer. Hogan had more catches and yards in Sunday’s AFC title game than he did in his lone year at Monmouth.
Hogan then cracked the Dolphins practice squad and earned the nick name “Seven Eleven” from Reggie Bush because he was always open. Despite the nickname and a good camp, Hogan was then released by the Dolphins and went on to play the next three seasons with the Buffalo Bills catching just 87 passes for just 959 yards and 6 touchdowns. Bill Belichick saw a speedy and gritty receiver play for the Buffalo Bills a season ago. When the Patriots offered Hogan a three year deal for around twelve million dollars in the off-season, the Bills failed to match that offer, making Hogan a Patriot and making Bills fans sorrowful and regretful once again.
Hogan’s efforts have raised eyes around the league, mainly because they can’t believe the Patriots found another “no-name” weapon for Tom Brady.
It was pretty clear the Steelers couldn’t find a plan to slow Hogan down as he torched them all game long.
If we know one thing prior to this Super Bowl, the Falcons and the rest of the NFL now know that the “college lacrosse playing wide receiver” isn’t just another ‘wide receiver’, he is a legitimate weapon that can make a difference in a big game.