Summary: In a deep cornerback class, Hosley has become a bit of sleeper prospect. If he had been in the 2011 NFL Draft, he probably would have been a first-round pick. He led college football in interceptions in 2010 and was a big play machine for the Hokies.
Hosley has excelled playing both man and zone coverage. He had 59 tackles, three interceptions, 12 passes broken up and two forced fumbles in 2011. He also averaged 12 yards per punt return. He had an excellent game against Clemson and star freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins, intercepting quarterback Tajh Boyd in the process. However, Hosley then had a rough game against Miami, getting beat for a touchdown and looking weak in run defense against Lamar Miller. He ended his season well with four passes broken up and a few near-interceptions against Michigan. Replay overturned picks for him, and they easily could have gone the other way.
Hosley served as Virginia Tech's punt returner the past three seasons, averaging 12 yards per return. He took back 10 kickoffs in his college career, but probably won't be doing that at the next level. He may contribute as a punt returner, especially as a rookie, but in time, his NFL team probably won't want a starting cornerback taking an injury risk on special teams.
Hosley showed off his raw speed with a 40-time at 4.38 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. He performed well in the field drills, and his Combine performance overall helped his stock. Hosley is underweight and his bench press total (11) confirmed that he should add weight for the NFL in order to handle bigger, more physical wide receivers.
Hosley could fit many defenses. He operates well in man coverage and zone coverage. The vast majority of NFL defenses mix in both, so Hosley would be a good fit across the league. He has tremendous ball skills and could be a corner who threatens to lead the league in interceptions on an annual basis. Hosley may be better off starting out his career as a nickel corner who matches up against slot receivers. After a rookie season like that, he should be able to add some muscle and be ready to be a starting cornerback in Year 2.
Player Comparison: Asante Samuel. Samuel has had a good pro career after being a fourth-round pick out of Central Florida in 2003. Samuel (5-10, 185) is not the biggest or most physical corner, but he can make plays on the ball and change games. Hosley is similar and is close to the same size and weight as Samuel. In the 2012 NFL Draft, Hosley is expected to be a second-round pick so he will get selected much earlier than Samuel did.
NFL Matches: St. Louis, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Arizona, Carolina, Dallas
There are many teams that could take Hosley in the second round. The Rams, Colts and Bucs all need cornerback help. If the Buccaneers or Rams take Trent Richardson in the first round, they could target a cornerback like Hosley in the second.
The Jaguars are looking hard at Hosley, and he makes a lot of sense to be a candidate for their second-round pick. Cleveland wants to get a cornerback to pair with Joe Haden, so Hosley could land with the Browns. The Panthers have a big need at cornerback, and Hosley would be a nice fit in Carolina. Arizona and Dallas could both use more help at corner.
Hosley has taken pre-draft visits to the Jaguars, Browns, Cardinals and Dolphins.