Mississippi State seems to have some knack for producing NFL Draft talent. Recently, it is a school producing first-rounders and some of the best young talents in the NFL, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat will stand out as the big names among this group. Elgton Jenkins headlines that list on the offensive side of the ball. However, this year, running back Kylin Hill is the top NFL Draft prospect to come out of Mississippi State.
Kylin Hill NFL Draft Profile & Senior Bowl Measurements
- Position: Running Back
- School: Mississippi State
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 5’10 3/8″
- Weight: 214 pounds
- Wingspan: 73″
- Arm: 30 1/2″
- Hand: 9 5/8″
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Tony Pauline’s Kylin Hill Scouting Report
Positives: Versatile ball carrier who had a topsy-turvy last two seasons. Patient, waits for blocks to develop, and has a burst through the hole. Quick-footed, will pick and choose his spots on the inside, and squeezes through the small openings of the offensive line.
Immediately turns upfield, runs north and south, and works to pick up as much yardage as possible. Displays outstanding blocking vision, sees the blitz, and squares into opponents. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield who can adjust to the errant throw.
Negatives: Not a truly creative ball carrier who makes defenders miss. Cannot beat defenders into the open field.
Analysis: After initially declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft, Hill returned to Mississippi State last season then left the program midway through the campaign. He’s a nice-sized ball carrier with the skill to be a rotational back and occasional starter on Sundays.
Kylin Hill Player Profile
From the jump, it was clear Kylin Hill was built differently from kids at Columbus High School. He looked like a grown man amongst boys. The star running back put up some of the most ridiculous numbers in Mississippi high school football history.
Over his junior and senior years, Hill would amass over 3,500 rushing yards and 45 touchdowns. His efforts led him to be recognized as a consensus four-star recruit. Consequently, Hill was ranked the sixth-best running back in the 2017 recruiting class.
Over those final two seasons, Hill began to rack up awards. Not only did he receive All-State selections, but he was also named Mississippi MVP after impressing at the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. With the awards on his back, Hill’s desire to stamp himself into his community won over, thus committing himself to Mississippi State. Importantly, Starkville is only a 30-minute drive from Columbus. That gives Hill direct access to the community.
Kylin Hill’s career as a Mississippi State running back
Thanks to his blue-chip rating, Hill got the ball rolling immediately as a freshman. Putting up impressive numbers, Hill’s dynamic skill set was beginning to impress coaches and players alike. That would carry over into his breakout sophomore campaign. Hill racked up over 1,000 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns over the first two years of his college career.
The key in his sophomore season was Hill’s receiving acumen took a tremendous leap. Showcasing soft hands, Hill’s presence only grew more and more over time.
More importantly, his production and tape across the board began to drastically improve as well. The game that put Hill on the map was a 227 all-purpose yards performance against Kansas State. Yet, the most outstanding showcase of talent that year was arguably his 100-yard performance against Auburn. Hill put on a master class of contact balance and body control for running backs.
Of course, 2019 was more of the same for Hill, who increasingly became a household name. First, he was the only SEC running back to average over the century mark for the entire season. His 1,350 rushing yards put him at third-best in the conference.
To open the season, Hill exploded with four straight 100-yard performances on the ground. Impressively, later that season, Hill would be the first Mississippi State running back to ever run for over 150 yards in four games in a season. He was an integral part of the Bulldogs’ offense.
Kylin Hill’s important 2020 season
Even so, with Hill’s performance, head coach Joe Moorhead was fired after the 2019 season. The Bulldogs landed the Air Raid guru Mike Leach to come into the fold.
For Hill, it would mean a drastic decrease in his carries and far more catches than ever before. Above all, that ended up helping Hill illustrate his vast and impressive skill set out of the backfield. Not only is he an impressive runner, but teams can see three-down value with Hill.
Hill tied the Mississippi State record for most receptions in a game with 15 versus Kentucky while only playing three games before opting out. Against LSU, he broke the school record for most receiving yards by a running back in a game with 158 receiving yards. The Air Raid route tree was not complicated for Hill, and he made it seem effortless. Knowing he had proven his hands and route-running ability, Hill opted out for the season to go to the NFL.
Analyzing Kylin Hill’s NFL Draft Profile
Hill is a rather unique running back. His body is certainly ready for the next level. He presents a shredded upper half and a strong will always to fall forward and grind out yards. Perhaps the best word to describe Hill’s game would be violent. Hill is an aggressive and hard-nosed runner to the core.
For what it is worth, that has both positives and drawbacks. For one, his leg drive is impeccable, and he is an awesome short-yardage back. Fighting tooth and nail is almost always positive. However, it gets him into trouble. Hill seems almost to take too many hits. More importantly, at times he invites the contact rather than trying to make defenders miss. That creates a double-edged sword for teams.
What are potential issues with Hill?
Athletically, Kylin Hill is a mixed bag. His explosiveness and quickness are here and there. Just check out the beauty that is Hill’s dead-leg cut to see those two traits.
However, there is no second gear with Hill. He lacks that breakaway speed to take it to the house at any given point. That makes him a weapon that can create some yardage, but not a home run threat in any way. It extends to the receiving game, too.
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Vision is an internal fight I have with Hill, too. There are obviously good things. Hill likes to keep things in structure if possible, and when he sees the hole, he goes. He shows no hesitation, and Hill will not ‘dance around’ to use a laymen’s term.
Unfortunately, he does not manipulate defenders at a high clip. That means blocking has to be good for him because Hill will not create a lot before contact with his eyes and feet. Even his processing is shoddy at times, and he can be prone to missing holes on the backside of runs.
Kylin Hill’s best 2021 NFL Draft fits
Hill’s range is a bit sporadic as it stands. Hill had a strong Senior Bowl and decent testing at Mississippi State’s Pro Day could see Hill push the envelope into Day 2. However, he is comfortably an early Day 3 guy right now. Hill’s strength is that he is physical and can be scheme-versatile. The ability to offer receiving help is nice, but limitations hold him back from being a bell-cow running back.
As such, Hill’s best fits include a place that has a need, but it is not too great of a need. The Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Los Angeles Chargers strike me as a favorable situation for Hill where he can contribute as a member of a committee.
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