NFL Draft: Is Stephen Hill more than a vertical threat?

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Let’s talk prospects and focus on Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill. Legit size (6-4, 215) and speed (4.36 40) at the WR position. But is he more than just a player that can run the top of the route tree (fade, post, corner) as a rookie? No question his stock is rising after the Combine and his Pro Day, but where is he developmentally at the position?

Today, I want to take a quick look at Hill from this past season vs. Clemson. Again, a deep 8 route (post) vs. a zone blitz concept. Check out the video and then we will break down some technique.

- Clemson is running a zone blitz with a “Corner Cat” (CB blitz) from the open (weak) side of the formation. Rush five and drop six (3-deep, 3-under) with the FS rolling to the open side outside deep third.

- The closed (strong) side CB is playing from an off-man position. In a zone blitz, he is going to carry (or match) No.1 (Hill) on any vertical release. No different than playing man-coverage with outside leverage.

- Free release for Hill and that will change at the NFL level vs. press-coverage. The Georgia Tech WR is able to stem his route vertically up the field and work the CB because of his initial leverage. An immediate advantage for Hill running a deep inside breaking concept

- The ability to track the football. This is what scouts want to see. Create separation and go get the ball. Plus, does the WR finish the play? That’s exactly what Hill does here extending to make the play.

Remember, this isn’t film study. Instead, we are looking at a highlight of a prospect that could carry a first-round grade into the draft. However, with a player such as Hill, the deep ball speed, size and big play ability is evident. And that’s why he is a target for teams that have a need at WR position this offseason.

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