Justice Hill Fantasy
Justice Hill decided to forego his senior year and join the 2019 class of running backs. Hill has been one of the most productive and consistent college running backs during his time at Oklahoma State. In three years, Hill rushed for 3539 yards and if not for missing the final 2 games and 3 quarters of the 2018 season, would have easily eclipsed 1000 yards each season. In his sophomore campaign, he gained the 13th most rushing yards in the nation with 1467. When you watch Justice Hill play, don’t blink because you might miss him – he is fast.
- Height – 5-10
- Weight – 190
- Age – 21
Justice has younger brother Dax who will be playing defensive back at Michigan come the fall of 2019. And although Justice was only a 3-star recruit compared to his brother’s 5 stars, they ran a 40-yard race against each other. Dax was laser timed at a 4.30 before the race – part of which prompted the run between the brothers. The race can be seen on twitter and Justice wins by a foot – literally. Although Hill performed very well at the combine (until he got hurt), he didn’t run a 4.30 40-yard dash.
NFL Combine Recap
- 40 Yard Draft: 4.40 seconds
- Bench Press: 21 reps
- Vertical Jump: 40 inches
- Broad Jump: 130 inches
- 3 Cone Drill: N/A
- 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A
- 60 Yard Shuttle: N/A
Hill, unfortunately, ended his combine early when he came up limping with a hamstring injury after his second attempt at the 40 Yard Dash. Before the injury, he was having a nice Combine in which he had the top time in the 40 Yard Dash, the top mark in both the Vertical and Broad Jumps and tied for the 10th most reps on the bench among RBs. Because Hill couldn’t perform any of the field activities, Scouts will want to see his agility, hands, and pass blocking on display at his Pro Day March 29th.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Hill is fast. No, like really fast. The sub 4.30 time was a bit of an exaggeration but his speed is seen on almost every play he runs. He can explode from almost any point of his run and uses a stutter step and acceleration to set up blocks or create missed tackles. He runs with his hips low creating a low center of gravity which allows him to make highlight reel jukes and spins. In space, he can usually make a defender miss either but outrunning them or a quick juke or spin.
The biggest drawback to Hill is his speed leads him to a tendency to want to bounce runs outside too early. Some of his best runs come from not bouncing it outside but running right off the hips of his tackle while another player blocks out. Unfortunately, there are several instances where he drifts outside or flat out runs to the sideline before anything can develop. It must be noted though that once he is outside there is very little stopping him from a monster gain if not a score. Another weakness is he has a tendency to get vertical at the point of contact either creating a stalemate with defenders or being pushed back completely.
Given Hill’s success in the open field, it is surprising that he wasn’t more utilized on passing plays. He did have almost 50 receptions over his three years but the majority of those coming in his stellar sophomore year (31 receptions for 190 yards and a score). From the film available, he seems surehanded and could pose a potential threat receiving at the next level. He would have to be used as a receiver though until his pass blocking improves. Overextending or throwing your body at a defender will not work against NFL caliber pass rushers. His 190 lbs frame is sometimes nothing more than a speedbump to larger blitzers.
Best Fit/Scheme: Running Back by Committee/3rd Down Specialist
Hill needs to go to a scheme where he can essentially be the Tarik Cohen of an offense. I don’t think Hill possesses the same level of elusiveness that Cohen possesses but I believe Hill can be effective in space the way Cohen has been. To draw more similarities with Cohen, Hill will not need to be the featured back of an offense and in my opinion, shouldn’t be. He could also fill the Austin Ekeler role very well. Ekeler had a great fantasy season in tandem with Melvin Gordon. However, when he was given the workhorse role fell flat. Hill has the ability to be a spark plug in almost any offense but I would be concerned if he were put into a workhorse role.
Justice Hill will be a guy getting some hype around dynasty circles for at least his speed and big play ability. According to Gridiron Experts Pre-Combine Mock Drafts, Hill is being drafted around the 17th pick or mid-second round. I think all lot will change between now and most dynasty drafts and Hill will start to fall as some of the other backs start making some noise. Honestly, I prefer it this way because I think people are over drafting Hill. I would much rather take a guy like Miles Sanders (who you can read my take on here) who I feel will contribute more in terms of volume to NFL and fantasy teams alike.
At best, I see Hill as a big upside prospect depending on the landing spot. If given the right opportunity he could work his way into a solid RB3 when played in the right matchups. He is on my radar as either a handcuff or a back like John Kelly in 2018 who people thought could be worked in on passing downs. Both of these situations raise concerns that he might just clog your roster as John Kelly did and most handcuffs do.
Overall, I like watching Hill play but I am very skeptical as to how he will translate his skills, especially his speed, to the NFL. As for Dynasty, I would rather go in a different direction and take a guy who projects to be a little more consistent. However, when it gets to homerun or bust type of guys, Hill could be a decent option.
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