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Old 03-05-2012, 05:27 PM    (permalink
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Workout wonder Hill suddenly under the scouting microscope

By Bucky Brooks NFL.com
Analyst
Published: March 5, 2012 at 02:09 p.m.
Updated: March 5, 2012 at 02:21 p.m.

Who is Stephen Hill?

That's one of the biggest questions floating around in scouting circles after the former Georgia Tech receiver put on a spectacular showing at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Hill ranked among the top performers at any position in the 40-yard dash (4.36), vertical jump (39.5 inches) and three-cone drill (6.88), and finished as one of the standouts in the receiver drills. His combination of athleticism, body control and balance is certainly impressive for a 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver, and offensive coordinators around the league are intrigued by the possibility of incorporating an extraordinary athlete into their game plans.

Evaluating Hill's game tape, I see a big, physical receiver with exceptional speed and quickness. He excels at running the vertical portion of the route tree (go route, post and deep cross) and his ability to run past defenders is accentuated by the deception of the Yellow Jackets' triple-option offense. As a pass catcher, Hill shows strong hands and gives the quarterback a huge target with his enormous catching radius (33 3/8-inch arms and a 79 1/2-inch wingspan). He has a penchant for coming down with acrobatic catches in a crowd, and his ability to win contested balls makes him a dangerous weapon in the red zone.

In terms of the weaker aspects of Hill's game, I would point to his unrefined route-running skills, limited experience with pro passing-game concepts and drops due to lapses in concentration. His struggles with route running and concepts are partially due to the simplistic nature of Georgia Tech's passing game. Hill primarily ran deep routes or quick screens to take advantage of the isolated matchups created by the Yellow Jackets' run-heavy approach. While he certainly made the most of limited opportunities last season -- 28 receptions for 820 yards (29.3 yards per catch!) and five touchdowns -- he was rarely asked to run intermediate routes and clearly lacks fluidity in that area.

Hill's raw tools warrant serious consideration as a potential early-round selection, but his game is still unrefined in several aspects, so evaluators will arrive at Georgia Tech's pro day on Tuesday looking to find a few answers to their most pressing questions. Here three questions Hill must address to solidify his status as one of the top receivers in the draft:
1. How good are Hill's hands?

Hill finished his three-year collegiate career with a grand total of 49 receptions, so evaluators don't have an extensive film résumé to study his game. That makes his performance at Tuesday's pro day critical to his final evaluation for most teams. Scouts and coaches will want to assess his pass-catching ability, particularly his hand-eye coordination and concentration. Evaluators will set up several ball-drill stations designed to test his ability to track the ball into his hands. Some of the drills will require Hill to catch the ball from a stationary position, while others will put him on the move to see how well he catches the ball from various angles.

Considering his limited experience catching balls at intermediate range, coaches will repeatedly ask him to catch balls from 12-to-15 yards away from the quarterback to gauge his ability to quickly pick up the flight of the ball. In addition, they will instruct him to work through various obstacles designed to simulate traffic over the middle and assess his ability to find and follow the ball.

Coaches will also put Hill through the paces on an assortment of ball drills from both sides to see if he has a strong or weak side catching the ball. As silly as it sounds, some receivers are more comfortable catching the ball from a preferred side and that could factor into the equation when determining where to align Hill on offense.
2. How quickly will Hill adapt to a pro route tree?

Hill's experience in Georgia Tech's triple option obviously isn't ideal preparation for the pro game. He was only targeted a few times each game and the vast majority of his receptions were compiled on vertical throws. Consequently, scouts will want to see how well Hill executes intermediate routes that are staples of most pro passing games.

To assess Hill's route-running ability, coaches will take him through an assortment of cone drills to see his ability to break down and transition out of cuts. He will be instructed to execute 45- and 90-degree angle breaks to simulate curls, square-ins and comebacks, and scouts will pay close attention to his ability to regenerate his speed out of cuts.

Hill will run the route tree from both sides of the field to give scouts a feel for where he stands in his development and how quickly he can get up to speed as a pro. Although all pro playbooks are unique in their concepts, the individual routes are fairly consistent and all necessary information can be gleaned from watching Hill's basic workout.

With that determination factoring heavily into Hill's final grade on the draft board, Hill's ability to show progress as a route runner could keep his name on the rise in war rooms across the league.
3. Can Hill comprehend the complexities of a pro scheme?

Hill faces a significant transition moving from Georgia Tech's triple option to any pro offense due to his inexperience with some of the nuances of a sophisticated passing game. He will enter the league with limited experience in hot reads or sight adjustments (breaking off a route in anticipation of a blitz), and didn't face much press or "cloud" coverage due to the run-heavy emphasis of his offense.

To assess his overall understanding of passing-game concepts and defensive coverage, coaches will put him on the blackboard to measure his overall football knowledge. In addition, coaches will teach him a few simple concepts and see if he is able to retain and process that information on the field. If he is able to execute and implement those concepts while simultaneously digesting information from a shifting defense, Hill will earn high marks from evaluators for his adaptability and football acumen. For teams employing complex systems predicated on post-snap adjustments from receivers based on coverage or blitz, Hill's ability to adjust on the fly will be a critical factor in his overall grade.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:26 PM    (permalink
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After studying all of Stephen Hill's film, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock is "less concerned" about the Georgia Tech wide receiver's drops and route running.

"He's a hands snatcher," said Mayock. "He had five or six drops [at Georgia Tech] ... but when you watch him catch the football, it's so natural." For a bigger receiver, Mayock determined that Hill was "really good" getting in and out of his breaks at the Yellow Jacket's Pro Day on Tuesday.

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-fa...pe=rss_falcons
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:50 PM    (permalink
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I still don't see him being a late 1st like some think,but there is no doubt his stock has rised into the 2nd. Could be the 5th WR drafted after Blackmon/Floyd/Wright/Jeffery
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Old 03-06-2012, 07:54 PM    (permalink
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Think he could even be the 4th depending on what Jeffery does on his pro-day and what type of receiver a teams needs.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:03 PM    (permalink
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Late 1st is gonna be a stretch for me as well, I'm good with him almost anywhere in the 2nd though. It only takes one team to fall in love with him. Blackmon and Floyd are a clear cut above him, but certain teams might like his size more than Wright and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Jeffrey is slipping on a lot of teams boards.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:14 PM    (permalink
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:19 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by RaiderNation View Post
I still don't see him being a late 1st like some think,but there is no doubt his stock has rised into the 2nd. Could be the 5th WR drafted after Blackmon/Floyd/Wright/Jeffery
I think there's a legitimate chance he's the 3rd WR off the board after Blackmon and Floyd. Jeffery will come with his concerns, and people might assume him and Hill could develop into the same type of player anyways, and teams valuing size at the WR position could choose Hill over Wright for that very reason. If say, Chicago lose out on Michael Floyd, I can see them choosing Hill over both Wright and Jeffery at 19.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:33 PM    (permalink
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As for attendance at his Pro Day...

[quote]NFL TEAMS PRESENT: We didn’t have an official count, but it looked like 31 of the 32 teams were present. San Francisco appeared to be the only team not present. Here are the teams that were certainly on hand: Falcons, Saints, Raiders, Eagles, Bills, Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cardinals, Rams, Panthers, Vikings, Colts, Dolphins, Titans, Broncos, Lions, and Texans.
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:46 PM    (permalink
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My personal assessment:

Pros-
Size: 6'4 215 lbs - 33 3/8'' arms - 79 1/2-inch wingspan - 9 3/8'' hands.
Athletic Ability: 4.3 speed, ridiculous leaping ability with a 39.5 inch standing vert, good quickness and burst, good feet and agility.
Hands: He's got good hands and he's a hands catcher. Has the ability to make circus catches as well. Also does a good job making catches in traffic and holding onto the ball while getting hit. Does a good job battling the defender for the ball in the air and can extend his body while falling down and still make the catch.
YAC: He's very hard to bring down after contact and does a good job picking up yards after the catch.
Blocking: Fantastic blocker, one of the best blocking WRs in the draft.
Character: Extremely hard working kid who puts his team first, not a diva. Wants to be the best and put in the work to achieve up to his ability. A really good well spoken kid that will give you his all.
Age: Only 20 years old
Upside: Has the talent, work ethic and god given ability to be a top 5 WR in the league.

Cons-
Route Running: He never had to run the full route tree at GT, so he will need to learn to perfect all the routes. He will also need to work on making his routes more crips and clean. This con is very common for college WRs coming into the NFL
Concentration catches: A few times he looked up field before securing the ball and it ended up in a drop. It comes down to concentration, catch the ball first and then look up field. It could've easily been because he got such few opportunities that when they came he just wanted to make the most out of it and just looked up field a second to quick.
Production: Lack of high production due to GT offense and the lack of opportunities.

This kid is sick and there is not a chance he will get out of the first round.

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Old 03-06-2012, 09:03 PM    (permalink
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why no body mention his run blocking?

It should be really good, in a run heavy system. If it is not, bring up some questions of what the hell was he doing? If he doesn't try and fake the db on a run play in college, in hte nfl good dbs will be able to read him on things like that.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:35 PM    (permalink
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WHen you cant block you dont play at Georgia Tech so sure he can block. Maybe even the best blocking WR in the draft.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:49 PM    (permalink
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This guy has a better chance to be Randy Moss/Calvin Johnson/Andre Johnson than anyone else in this draft. I get that the risk is too much in the top 10-15 picks, but beyond that, it's absurd not to take him if you need a receiver. People are way too afraid of potential busts, and they're so afraid of "workout warriors" that they don't realize more often than not, a guy that works out really well is going to be a much better NFL player than a guy that doesn't. I'll fill my team with Stephen Hill's and everyone else can have the Rueben Randle's and Alshon Jeffery's.
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:50 PM    (permalink
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This guy has a better chance to be Randy Moss/Calvin Johnson/Andre Johnson than anyone else in this draft. I get that the risk is too much in the top 10-15 picks, but beyond that, it's absurd not to take him if you need a receiver. People are way too afraid of potential busts, and they're so afraid of "workout warriors" that they don't realize more often than not, a guy that works out really well is going to be a much better NFL player than a guy that doesn't. I'll fill my team with Stephen Hill's and everyone else can have the Rueben Randle's and Alshon Jeffery's.
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Old 03-07-2012, 03:09 AM    (permalink
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Just got done watching 3 GT games. (North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia). I actually think that Hill is right on par with D. Thomas coming out of GT. Thomas was bigger and more physical, but Hill is much quicker, which really alleviates a lot of the concerns as far as his ability to run the full route tree. Hill also plays hard all the time, so his work ethic seems to be a positive. He also surprised me with his ball skills, when given the opportunity.


If I'm Chicago, I hope that he is there when our pick comes up. He's definitely worth a mid-late 1st round pick for a receiver needy team IMO.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:06 AM    (permalink
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After the top 10 are selected, I think there will be more movement among teams trying to position themselves up to select Stephen Hill.

It's hard to imagine him going later than the 20th pick.
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Old 03-07-2012, 10:56 AM    (permalink
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In Atlanta, Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill is again drawing rave reviews.

Hill stood on his stellar combine marks, but tipped the scale at a solid 209 pounds during the Georgia Tech workout, six less than his combine weigh-in. Once again Hill was flawless during pass-catching drills, running clean routes and doing an exceptional job catching the ball. The buzz continues to build around Hill, as several NFL decision-makers, as well as directors of college scouting for teams around the league, openly stated this morning that he ranks as a first-round choice and should be off the board by pick 25.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...ays/index.html.
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:03 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by ChiFan24 View Post
This guy has a better chance to be Randy Moss/Calvin Johnson/Andre Johnson than anyone else in this draft. I get that the risk is too much in the top 10-15 picks, but beyond that, it's absurd not to take him if you need a receiver. People are way too afraid of potential busts, and they're so afraid of "workout warriors" that they don't realize more often than not, a guy that works out really well is going to be a much better NFL player than a guy that doesn't. I'll fill my team with Stephen Hill's and everyone else can have the Rueben Randle's and Alshon Jeffery's.
What about the Scott Long's and Ricardo Lockette's?
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:25 PM    (permalink
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This guy has a better chance to be Randy Moss/Calvin Johnson/Andre Johnson than anyone else in this draft. I get that the risk is too much in the top 10-15 picks, but beyond that, it's absurd not to take him if you need a receiver. People are way too afraid of potential busts, and they're so afraid of "workout warriors" that they don't realize more often than not, a guy that works out really well is going to be a much better NFL player than a guy that doesn't. I'll fill my team with Stephen Hill's and everyone else can have the Rueben Randle's and Alshon Jeffery's.
I agree, I cannot see this guy getting out of round 1 and he has an excellent chance to go ahead of Wright, Randle, and Jeffery's IMO.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:31 PM    (permalink
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I'm waiting until Jeffery runs his 40 at his pro day. If he can run in the 4.5's he will be my #4 WR, if not Hill is all likelihood will be that guy
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:18 PM    (permalink
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What about the Scott Long's and Ricardo Lockette's?
Your gonna end up with a bust no matter what, it happens, but if you want to draft "safe" all the time you'll end up with average players or bust just as well. You could come up with a long list of safe prospects with high floors that ended up being bust, but when you have a guy that has elite tools like Hill you don't overlook that because your scared he might be a bust.


I guess maybe I have a much easier time translating WR's to the NFL game with the way offenses have been taking a move to the spread. The reward here far outweighs the risk, and this could easily be one of the those scenarios where the later round 1 WR out performed the early picks.
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:22 AM    (permalink
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Chances he falls to the Jags in the 2nd??
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Old 03-09-2012, 05:58 AM    (permalink
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Chances he falls to the Jags in the 2nd??
zero. (10)
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:44 AM    (permalink
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zero. (10)
and who do you think snags him?
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:49 AM    (permalink
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and who do you think snags him?
jags #7
dolphins #8
bills #10
eagles #15
jets #16
bengals #17
chargers #18
bears #19
tennessee #20
bengals #21
browns #22
broncos #25
texans #26
patriots #27
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:05 AM    (permalink
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jags #7
dolphins #8
bills #10
eagles #15
jets #16
bengals #17
chargers #18
bears #19
tennessee #20
bengals #21
browns #22
broncos #25
texans #26
patriots #27
Realistically, I could only see him going at 18 if VJax walks. From there, 19, 22, 26, 27. Very slight possibility at 16 to the Jets. I guess the chance he falls that far to the Jags is somewhat slim, but I think it's better than half of those possibilities.

If we take him at 7... let's just say I won't be too happy.
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