Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill, who announced he would be leaving the Yellow Jackets for the 2012 draft, believes he can raise his stock and become one of the top wide receivers in upcoming draft. Despite Georgia Tech's run-heavy triple-option offense, they recently have produced two 1st round pick wide receivers - Demaryius Thomas in 2010, and Calvin Johnson in 2007. Although very unlikely to be a first round pick, the success of those two on the NFL level may make make GMs optimistic that Hill too can become a productive NFL receiver. Hill could be one of this years sleepers.
Stephen Hill 6'5, 206 pounds | Wide receiver | Georgia Tech:
Acceleration: Has to take long strides to build up speed and will need some space to accelerate. Doesn't possess the quick-twitch burst of the elite receivers in this draft.
Agility/Leaping Ability: Hill can out leap most if not all defensive backs, but he doesn't always time his leaps properly. Highly recruited out of highschool, be broke the Georgia HS state long jump record of 25 feel 8 3/4 inches.
Concentration/Hands: Despite having large hands, Hill's hands are being questioned by scouts due to a high number of drops. This maybe a lack of focus from having such a small amout of targets.
Blocking: Although scouts question his catching consistency, his blocking skills could make up for that. In Tech's scheme, WRs primary role is to provide blocking on the perimeter, and occasionally sneak downfield for the occasional deep pass.
Release: Rarely challenged at the line of scrimmage, he appears to be big enough and strong enough to fight through any press coverage, and quick enough to beat most corners.
Route running: Needs to learn how to run tighter and more crisp routes. Has very little experience running pro-routes. Will have to learn an NFL route tree.
Size: Hill's 6 foot 5, 206-pound frame is noticeable thinner than either Thomas of Johnson was coming out of college. His body resembles AJ Green, tall, with long arms. Tough to bring down after the catch.
Speed: Is a long strider who needs some space to build up speed. Not as fast as two former 1st round WRs.
Final word: This season, Hill caught only 28 passes, for 820 yards, and five touchdowns. However, his average of 29.3 yards per catch, both lead the nation, and set a Georgia Tech school record. In a scheme where the run comes first, second, and third, the ability of Hill was not put on full display. He surprised scouts by leaving school early, but after catching only 28 balls last year, he may not have felt it likely he would improve his draft stock much by coming back. Like Thomas and Johnson, doing more with less shows he has the big play ability that many NFL teams look for in the draft.
NOTE: In comparison, during Thomas' 2009 season, he had 46 catches for 1154 yards, 8 TDs, and 25.1 YPC, while Johnson's last season in college had him catch 76 passes, for 1202, 15 TDs, and 15 YPC.
To see Stephen Hill game tape on youtube: