Dynasty Debate: Stephen Hill or Cecil Shorts?
Written by: Zhan Mourning & Doug Veatch
In this article, a couple of dynasty fanatics come together to debate the long term dynasty outlook of two players. This week we have second year wide receiver Stephen Hill, against the Jaguars’ 4th round pick in 2011, wide receiver Cecil Shorts.
Doug Veatch: Stephen Hill is the only player in the Jets organization I would even consider owning in ANY type of fantasy football format, yet I have many concerns. I felt he was one of the most over drafted players in 2012 rookie drafts. An underutilized player dating back to his college days at Georgia Tech, Hill’s value skyrocketed after turning in an impressive combine workout. He doesn’t look like a natural athlete to me. He appears to have stiff hips when coming out of his cuts and is a very short strider when he gets the ball in space, which severely limits his opportunity to use his elite speed. Recent success stories from Georgia Tech like Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas probably had (have) owners thinking Hill is the next in line, but he’s developing slower than either of those players. I think this could be another case of a combine workout warrior and nothing more. Add in the fact the Jets have no quality talent around him and it shouldn’t be difficult for opposing teams to plan to take Hill out of games for the most part.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got Cecil Shorts III from Mount Union College, a college that also has a knack for pumping out quality NFL caliber talent. Besides an atrocious quarterback situation, the only reason I can seeing people pumping the brakes on Shorts is because of his concussion history. However, Shorts is a proven WR2 and was consistently being drafted as a low end WR3 or even a fringe WR4, so the investment is well worth the risk. If I had to compare Shorts to anyone currently playing in the NFL it would be Miles Austin. He has prototypical height, weight and speed for his position and has that “my ball” mentality that can’t be coached.
After a lackluster rookie campaign, Shorts exploded onto the NFL scene and ended up finishing the year as the WR24 and only played 86 snaps through the first five weeks of the season. If that isn’t impressive enough, he did it with arguably the worst two quarterbacks in the NFL chucking him the rock. To put it mildly, the possibility of the Jaguars drafting a player like Teddy Bridgewater next year has me salivating like Pavlov’s dog. I think Shorts could be a legitimate top 12 wide receiver if and when his quarterback situation improves. I’m grabbing Shorts wherever I can and am committed to holding him until his situation improves. He’s shown flashes in a lethargic offense that suggests he could be so much more than his start-up ADP suggests. Something I preach on a regular basis is – “situation is temporary, and talent always endures. Otherwise, there would be no such thing as a sleeper.” I’m definitely on the Shorts bandwagon and don’t see myself jumping off anytime soon.
Zhan Mourning: I like Stephen Hill in this debate. Some of it has to do with the current personnel situation for the Jets. They have Santonio Holmes and veteran Kellen Winslow, but they aren’t the future of this franchise. Jeremy Kerley was also a highly touted player by some in the dynasty community, but he has been suffering from concussion issues as of late. That leaves Stephen Hill as the last man standing ,by default. Hill currently leads the teams in receptions (10) and yards (125), not to mention he is tied for third in league leading targets (17) and that’s playing with a rookie quarterback in Geno Smith. I think after this year the Jets will clean house and Hill will be one of few players to stick around. I won’t deny Doug’s points about Hill being a short strider and not looking smooth in and out of his breaks, but to me Stephen Hill has the physical tools to develop, and become a WR1 in the NFL, not to mention he is only 22-years-old. Another thing I like to look for in receivers is their physical size. NFL defensive backs are getting bigger and stronger and at 6’4′ 215 lbs Hill can use his size to his advantage against them.
Cecil Shorts has flashed talent the past few years, but there are a few things that concern me with him as a long term fantasy commodity. First and foremost is his health. While he has been relatively injury free in his short career, he suffered two concussions in December of 2012, which ended his season. We have seen the NFL take head injuries much more serious than in the past, due to deaths and lawsuits of former players. Besides that, I don’t see Shorts as a top receiving threat in the league. He is the “go to guy” right now and even when Justin Blackmon returns from suspension, I don’t think that will change. I just don’t see him as a long-term play maker. Another thing that worries me is how the Jaguars franchise is handled. Not that the Jets front office is a poster child for making good decisions, but at least they have been competitive and relevant within the past couple of years. The Jaguars front office flat out scares me with their decision making. They haven’t been relevant since 2007 and continue to make bad personnel decisions. Yes Shorts will be better with a decent QB, but will Jacksonville just actually get one? I think they are more likely to choose another Blaine Gabbert clone or maybe even take another punter in the middle rounds.
Short term, and for redraft purposes I will admit Cecil Shorts may be the better option. However, if you’re looking for a big bodied receiver that’s only 22-years-old and has room to become an even better player down the road, Stephen Hill is your guy for a dynasty team.