After watching the second episode of Hard Knocks on Tuesday night, I became very intrigued by wide receiver Chris Hogan. Up until this point, we knew very little of this guy and gave him no shot at making the 53 man roster. According to some of the local beat writers who closely cover the Dolphins, he was surrounded by the media following Wednesday’s practice. Sports talk radio shows around the country were even talking about this potential hidden gem on the Dolphins’ roster. Thanks to the footage shown on Hard Knocks, Hogan has become an overnight celebrity.
RB Reggie Bush has already given him the nickname of “7-11” because he’s open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Most importantly, according to the comments made by the coaching staff on the show, they seem to really like this kid and speak highly of his performance thus far. But where did he come from and why are we just now finding out he has been impressive during training camp?
Hogan went undrafted in 2011 and slipped by everyone’s radar because he only played one season of college football as a wide receiver and cornerback for Monmouth University. He produced just 12 receptions for 147 yards and three touchdowns. With such nominal stats and a lack of a scouting report, very few NFL teams were even aware of Hogan. Besides, he was mainly recognized for his skills in another sport, being an All-Conference Lacrosse player, playing three seasons with Penn State.
But at 6’2” and 220 pounds, Hogan was able to draw the attention of only a few NFL teams during his solid Pro Day performance at Fordham University. He impressed scouts by running a 4.47 forty and was able to bench press 225 pounds 28 times. Not bad for a no-name receiver from Monmouth.
The San Francisco 49ers was the first team to sign Hogan as an undrafted free agent last year. Limited with an ankle injury in the preseason, the 49ers cut him before the start of the season. The New York Giants then picked him up immediately after his release, only to give him the scissors as well just a month later. But as the saying goes, one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. The Dolphins were able to sign Hogan to the practice squad in late December of last year.
For some reason, Hogan’s name was not mentioned all that much during OTAs, minicamp, and training camp. Sure, there were times where the media reported a few catches here and there by Hogan, but gave nothing to alert the fans of his ability to “consistently get open.”
Maybe his performance was downplayed due to the fact he was playing with the third string? Maybe the media spent most of their time analyzing and reporting on the intense QB competition between Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore, and David Garrard? Maybe it was the outspoken character and on-the-field shenanigans of WR Chad Johnson who took away the lime light from the other receivers? Regardless, Hogan’s performance simply fell through the cracks and thanks to Hard Knocks, we are all now aware of this kid’s potential.
Whether he realizes it or not, Hogan has become an overnight celebrity. He is no longer in the shadows of the other receivers. Going forward, the spotlight will be shining directly on him, and the media will dissect and breakdown his every play. Competing with 11 other receivers for just six spots, he still has an uphill battle to fight. Despite his new popularity, he is still an underdog in this competition. But one thing is for sure. With Chad Johnson now officially gone, another door is left open on this roster. Can Hogan run through it?