The final question of the Kevin Hogan era at Stanford has finally been resolved.
The Kansas City Chiefs selected the four-year Stanford quarterback with the 162nd overall pick in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft on Saturday.
Hogan is the 31st quarterback in Stanford history to be taken in the NFL Draft and the first since 2012 first-round selection Andrew Luck. He was the fourth Stanford player to be selected in the 2016 draft, following Joshua Garnett (San Francisco), Austin Hooper (Atlanta) and Blake Martinez (Green Bay).
Tasked with the unenviable challenge of following up Luck under center on The Farm, Hogan did far more than anybody could have imagined and arguably ended up with a more successful collegiate career than the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up. Regardless of how his professional career pans out, Hogan’s legacy will leave a mark on Stanford’s campus for a long time to come.
Hogan’s 36 career wins at quarterback make him the winningest signal-caller in Stanford history. He is also Stanford’s all-time rushing leader at quarterback and the program’s leader in total offense, as well as a two-time team captain. No other Stanford quarterback helped the team win three conference championships; no other Stanford quarterback (or any quarterback, ever) took his team to three Rose Bowl Games.
After taking over the reins of the team from Josh Nunes as the starting quarterback against No. 13 Oregon State in the 2012 season, Hogan won his first 10 career starts, including victories over No. 1 Oregon, No. 15 (and then, No. 17) UCLA, No. 23 Arizona State and No. 15 Washington. He led the team to two Pac-12 Championships in his first two seasons, a victory in the 99th Rose Bowl Game over Wisconsin and a loss to Michigan State in the 100th Rose Bowl Game.
And after a 2014 season in which he struggled privately through the death of his father as Stanford skidded to an 8-5 record, Hogan became one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in his final campaign in 2015. While leading the team to a blowout victory in the 102nd Rose Bowl Game over Iowa, a 12-2 record and a final No. 3 AP ranking, Hogan finished as the fourth-most efficient passer in the nation and the fifth-most accurate. He completed 206 of his 304 passes for 2,867 yards, 27 touchdowns and 8 interceptions as a senior.
In the 51 appearances (46 starts) of his four-year career, Hogan completed 727 of his 1,103 passes for 9,385 yards, 75 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,249 yards and 15 touchdowns and even caught a touchdown pass to boot.
Hogan’s strong suits have always been his mobility and his mental command of both the game and the offense. Although his arm strength has been questioned and his throwing motion has been described as a mess, Hogan has always found ways to win throughout his Stanford career despite those shortcomings, in large part thanks to his physical running ability to pick up tough first downs and his ability to read defenses and effectively run the Stanford offense nearly autonomously from the field, making decisions, reads and protection calls as he saw fit.
Hogan has been described as one of the most pro-ready quarterbacks in this year’s draft class due to his unparalleled command of the mental game and of Stanford’s NFL-style playbook, and as a result, a few teams expressed serious interest in him throughout the entire scouting and draft process — most notably the Buffalo Bills.
Simply put, Hogan found a great fit in the West Coast, run-heavy offense that Kansas City plays. He’ll never become a high-volume passer in the NFL and won’t put up flashy highlights, but he makes smart decisions at the line and as plays unfold, and minimizes mistakes and picks up hard-earned yards at all costs. The Chiefs will offer him an offensive line with potential and an elite running back in Jamaal Charles.
Hogan will also have a chance to develop behind 31-year-old incumbent quarterback Alex Smith, whose style is much like Hogan’s and will be a free agent following the 2018 season. Hogan should compete for the backup job immediately with former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.
Contact Do-Hyoung Park at dhpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.