Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stephen Hill: NFL Prospect?

USA Today ranked the top 150 NFL draft-eligible players, that the paper says will go in the first five rounds. Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill is ranked 61st overall, and is rated the 7th best receiver in the draft – projected as a second round pick. When Hill declared himself eligible for the draft, forgoing his senior year at Tech, he did so in spite of being rated a late round draft pick, at best.

Perhaps due to his height, Hill is ranked ahead of receiver Nick Toon of Wisconsin (71), Heisman runner-up running back LaMichael James of Oregon (94), Bulldog-beating quarterback Kirk Cousins of Michigan State (83), and Georgia center Ben Jones (65). In reality, all will be drafted ahead of the slippery-fingered Tech receiver.

All-SEC wide receiver Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina is ranked as the fifth best receiver, the 47th best player overall…just fourteen spots ahead of Hill. In reality, Jeffery is tons better than Hill.

Stephen made a name for himself by making a few leaping and diving catches. Tech’s option attack meant Hill almost never drew double-coverage, leading to several break-away touchdowns for Hill. But these were a product of the offensive system, not Hill’s ability. Just as often as Hill would make a great catch, he also dropped just as many balls right in his hands.

Unlike the much heavier Bay Bay Thomas, the skinny Hill will have a hard time separating himself from hard-hitting NFL defensive backs. At 6’4” and 206 pounds, Hill is in fact the skinniest of all 150 players.

You wish a young man well as he chases his dreams. Already an NFL long-shot, Stephen Hill is also forgoing a free college education. His future does not look bright.

That said, NFL teams love tall receivers, regardless of obvious defects. Here's saying Hill is a late round pick, and makes a team's practice squad. For a year or two.

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