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Isaiah Hodgins’ chemistry with Daniel Jones stands out among Giants receivers

Hodgins put up a nice season with the Giants after being released by the Bills

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings
Isaiah Hodgins
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

One of the revelations to come out of the New York Giants’ chaotic receiver room in 2022 was Isaiah Hodgins. Brought in out of desperation due to a slew of injuries, Hodgins developed a rapport with Daniel Jones and became a real safety net on offense. Now, it’s up to Hodgins to prove that his breakout was not a fluke and secure his spot as a starting wide receiver.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 201
Age: 24
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: 2
Contract: one-year, $870,000 | 2023 cap hit: $870,000

Career to date

Hodgins entered the NFL out of Oregon State as the 207th overall pick of the 2020 draft by the Buffalo Bills. He started six of 11 games as a true freshman in 2017, catching 31 balls for 275 yards and two touchdowns. In 2018, he increased to nine starts out of 11 and his numbers improved to 59 catches for 876 yards and five scores.

In his junior year, Hodgins exploded, nabbing 86 receptions for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns. He decided to forgo his senior season and declare for the draft, where the Bills selected him.

Unfortunately for Hodgins, a shoulder injury just before the 2020 season landed him on injured reserve. While he was designated to return from IR in late November and began practicing again, he ended up having surgery shortly thereafter and lost the rest of his rookie year.

In 2021, Hodgins did not make the Bills out of camp and was signed to their practice squad. He remained there and appeared in one regular season game, during which he logged just four snaps. In 2022, he was originally signed to the Bills' practice squad but was released in November. The Giants picked him up from there.

In eight regular season games (five starts) with the Giants, Hodgins posted 33 receptions for 351 yards, 22 first downs, and four touchdowns. He added nine receptions on 11 targets for 108 yards and a score in the two postseason tilts. His per-game stats (regular and postseason) average out to a 17-game slate of 71 catches, 780 yards, and 8.5 touchdowns.

Hodgins made a name for himself as sure-handed, as he did not have a single drop. Pro Football Focus gave him a 76.6 grade for the season, which ranked 29th out of 96 receivers with at least 40 targets. ESPN Analytics ranked him with an overall receiver score of 67, which tied for 19th out of 82 receivers, including a fourth-best 85 hands score.

The Giants re-signed Hodgins as an exclusive rights free agent this offseason.

2023 outlook

While there was some talk that the Giants could try to extend Hodgins this offseason, they elected to go the year-by-year route to keep his cap hit low and make him prove that he wasn’t a one-year wonder. Considering that Hodgins posted a minuscule 1.7% drop rate in college, per PFF, it’s likely that his surehandedness was not a fluke: he catches the football if it’s meant to be caught. That is refreshing on a Giants team with several players who have drop issues.

That kind of security is also quarterback-friendly, which is likely one of the reasons that Jones sent the ball his way. Hodgins averaged 5.0 targets per game in the 10 total games he played for the Giants last season, which was the highest target volume on the team for anyone who played at least 10 games. The 127.7 passer rating posted on throws Hodgins’ way more than justified that confidence.

Hodgins begins 2022 as one of the Giants’ starting outside receivers. Considering that there isn’t much proven depth behind Darius Slayton and Hodgins on the outside, he figures to maintain a big role in the team’s passing game.

While Hodgins’ aDOT of 9.6 is unusually low for an outside receiver, the Giants have other speed threats to use in the intermediate and deep parts of the field, including Slayton and Jalin Hyatt. Hodgins uses his quick change-of-direction ability (8.41 RAS in the short shuttle) to get open in a hurry, something the Giants have stated they value in their receivers.

Overall, Hodgins figures to be a key piece in the Giants’ offense in 2022 as long as he stays healthy.