Often known as the “third WR” at Ohio State, K.J. Hill finally enters the upcoming season as the number one receiving option for the Buckeyes – with high expectations along with it. Parris Campbell (Indianapolis Colts), and Terry McLaurin (Washington Redskins) both went off to the NFL Draft, which means it’s time for Hill to shine.
As one of the higher-profile receivers in the upcoming NFL Draft class, let’s take a quick look at his game.
NFL Draft Profile
Wide Receiver – Ohio State Buckeyes
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 198 lbs. Class: Senior
Career: 36 Games, 144 rec, 1696 yds, 11.8 ypc, 10 TDs
2018 Stats: 14 Games, 70 rec, 885 yds, 12.6 ypc, 6 TDs
Games Watched: Michigan State (2018), Oregon State (2018), Minnesota (2018)
— THE Bunch of Nuts Podcast (@bunch_nuts) April 9, 2019
Initially a gadget player who has developed into a legitimate wideout during his tenure with the Buckeyes, K.J. Hill has a cluster of ridiculous one-handed catches on his resume. He’s an easy glider with an abundance of speed. Dynamic and slippery with a knack for the big play, his route-running looks smooth and polished, but does so at a very fast pace. Hill is not extremely aggressive nor physical. He lacks size, and arguably plays smaller than he is. He struggles in contested, high-point situations, but he’s great at working the middle of the field in “mesh” and “drag” like concepts.
Hill is at his best in the slot or against zone coverage. He possesses great spatial awareness and catches the majority of his balls in the short to intermediate sections of the field. Bubble screens and yards after catch account for a large portion of his production. He lacks tenacity and size when asked to block. He’s very difficult to get a hand on, but when cornerbacks successfully engage, he can be rubbed out with relative ease. Hill is elite at making quick decisive cuts at the stem of his routes, and his smooth and fluid nature creates plenty of horizontal separation.
The majority of passes to Hill come in soft coverage or in 3rd down situations. Hill does a good job of lowering his hips and shortening his strides before making his cuts. He’s not asked to run a very diverse route-tree (mostly between 0-12 yards), but he excels at the more complex aspects of those same routes. Almost all passes came inside, with limited outside experience currently on his resume. He’s not asked to run almost any “post” or “fly” patterns, despite his quality speed.
Ultimately an exciting and explosive prospect with slot potential, but highly unlikely to develop into a full-fledged starter, Hill would be ideal in an offence with a lot of underneath patterns and mesh-type concepts.
Pro Comparison: Eli Rogers WR (Pittsburgh Steelers)
NFL Draft Outlook: 3rd / 4th Round Selection