School: Georgia Tech
Position: Wide Receiver
Measurements: 6í4″† 215 lbs.
Projection: First round pick
In One Word: Beast
Fantasy Value: Draft n’ stash
Resembles: Demaryius Thomas (low side), Hakeem Nicks (high side)
Mock Prediction: Broncos (25th overall)
Few players have seen their individual NFL Draft stock improve as much as Hill. In fact, our friends over at First Round Exchange say the former Georgia Tech wide-out’s value has soared an amazing 150.7% since trading began, making him the most profitable incoming rookie in the entire Exchange.
So what caused Hill’s value to skyrocket? A phenomenal showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. Hill measured in at a downright-imposing 6′ 4″ and 215 lbs. while his official 4.36 second 40 yard dash was tied for the fastest in the group. He looked very good catching the ball in drills, with solid hands and has the appearance of being a game-changing deep threat at the next level.
Hill hopes to follow in the footsteps of another huge receiving-threat out of Georgia Tech, Calvin Johnson. Though Hill is still a bit raw and will need time to develop, he has the speed and frame to be an outstanding jump-ball and red-zone target. He should be adept right out of the gate at using his size/speed combination to get by smaller defensive backs and has shown a good propensity for tracking down deep passes.
After Georgia Tech’s March 6th pro day, there were little doubts about Hill’s abilities. NFL Network’s noted draft-guru Mike Mayock said Hill was “really good” at running his routes and said he was a “natural” pass catcher. Though his pro-day route running was mostly deep “fly” routes, posts and “flag” routes, he excelled and looked fluid making cuts.
As always for fast risers, there will be concerns about Hill’s rapid rise and relative inexperience. He did leave school a year early, after only being a starter for two seasons. He only managed to snag 49 passes and nine touchdowns with the Yellowjackets. Some pro scouts think that he could have trouble getting off of the line of scrimmage against NFL-caliber defensive backs, which are far superior to what Hill saw in the ACC.
Stephen Hill is the wide receiver wild-card in the 2012 NFL draft. He could be drafted as high as the middle of the first round, as the second wide-out of the board, or teams could see more risk than reward and he could slip into the upper part of the second round. With NFL offenses increasingly pass-happy, and the need for big and fast receivers like Hill growing ever more prevalent, look for him to be selected by one of the many squads in the bottom half of round one who could use a new number two pass-catcher.