The wide receiver has been on the roster all season but KhaDarel Hodge is starting to get reps on offense. If he continues to make big plays he will start playing more.
Cleveland Browns fans were probably thinking "who is number 12?" on Thursday night when he hauled in a 41-yard pass. Then they said it was KhaDarel Hodge and you were probably still confused. Well you were not alone.
Hodge is a second-year player out of Prairie View A&M and most fans haven't heard his name before. He spent last season with the Los Angeles Rams as a special teams player.
He was waived by the Rams before the season and Cleveland claimed him off waivers on September 1. He spent most of this season on special teams, but has started to get a chance at wide receiver the past three weeks.
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The Browns desperately need another receiver to step up other than Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. Antonio Callaway is Cleveland's next leading receiver and he was released last week after he was suspended 10 games for once again violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Rashard Higgins is probably the Browns third threat out wide, but he has seemed to be in Freddie Kitchens dog house since the Seattle game. He also dealt with an injury early in the season. If Hodge can continue to make plays, he could easily take that spot.
Hodge hasn't played much receiver in the NFL, so you have to go back to his college days to get a feel for what he is good at. He had eight career 100-yard games and caught 21 touchdowns and he was named a FCS All-American as a senior.
Hodge has good range and can catch passes that may not be accurate. He doesn't have great speed, but he has what I call competitive speed: He can outrun a player that is running step for step with him.
Hodge has the ability to be that third receiver, but Kitchens doesn't seem to like to throw to a third receiver too often. No receiver other than Landry and Beckham has more than 15 targets. Kareem Hunt has more than that and he has only played two games.
Hodge hasn't played a lot, no more than 11 snaps on offense in any game, but he has made the most of his opportunity so far. Higgins will probably get the first look as the third receiver, but Hodge seems like he could find himself in that role sooner rather than later.