In 2011, while at Georgia tech. New York Jets Wide receiver Stephen Hill averaged 29.3 yards per reception, more than any player in college football.
When he was drafted by the New York Jets in the second round, number forty three overall in 2012, he ran a 4.36 forty yard dash.
What was there not to like?
Are Stephen Hill’s days with the Jets now numbered? That’s one of the questions the team faces heading into Thursday night’s preseason finale against at the Eagles.
Hill desperately needs a good outing under his belt, remembering Saturday’s final deadline for roster cuts.
“I think he’s had some strong moments, but then there’s others that we wish he maybe hung on to a ball or so,” I think he’s had a pretty good training camp. I wouldn’t say it’s been outstanding, but I think it’s been pretty good.” Rex Ryan said Tuesday.
Hill, has shown “some” flashes this summer, but he continues to struggle with route running, drops, and catching the ball with his hands instead of his body.
Preseason stats: Hill has played 94 snaps in the first three preseason games, per Pro Football Focus. He’s only been targeted six times for just two catches.
The Jets roster, must be reduced to 53 by 6 p.m. Saturday. They only kept five receivers on the roster for most of the 2013 Season.
This year, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson, and Jalen Saunders look good to make the roster.
Saunders is a rookie but adds value as a punt and/or kick returner.
The remainder, including Stephen Hill are, Greg Salas, rookie Quincy Enunwa, Saalim Hakim, and Clyde Gates. Greg Salas, has had a good summer / pre-season whileHakim has been used as a kickoff returner on special teams.
“Well, it’s a disadvantage for anybody, because special teams is something that we said is going to be a point of emphasis, You look at a Saalim Hakim, the way he’s played on special teams. That’s going to give him a leg up, without question. So I think that’s a big factor in decision making.” Rex Ryan said.
Hill finished his second season with 24 catches after being put on injured reserve.
General manager John Idzik told Hill to make sure he keeps going to meetings and comes back strong, saying, according to Hill, “We have a plan for you.”
Hill had persistent knee problems throughout the entire 2013 Season.
” I mean, this wasn’t the guy that we drafted that ran the 4.2 time in the 40.” Rex Ryan said of Hill’s 2013 Season of knees.
Hill had knee surgery last December after suffering an LCL sprain against Jacksonville.
Daily news interview with Chris Carter and Michael Irvin:
“I see raw ability and raw talent,” Michael Irvin said. “But in order to bring the best of that raw ability, you got to have some things around him so he can learn and really understand it. He needs people that will teach him how to work and teach him how to play the game. . . . I can’t kill Stephen Hill. I can kill what has poured into Stephen Hill.”
“You don’t have a stable quarterback situation, so how can you have a stable offensive system?” Irvin added. “How can he gain confidence in what he’s doing if there is no confidence in what the quarterback’s doing? We’re asking this kid, ‘Hey, show up and be big even though all the mechanisms that get you the ball to give you the opportunity are less than big.’ It’s kind of a tall order.”
“I’m not comfortable with a guy who runs really fast but isn’t comfortable with the ball in his hands,” said Carter, who is an ESPN analyst. “He’s not really good after the catch and he’s not great at catching the ball. So, for me, it’s kind of hard to figure out how he’s going to create his niche. Because that’s what you have to do.”
Hill will surely benefit from Decker’s presence after being around locker room cancer Santonio Holmes for the past two years. “Decker is a hard worker… He wants to be great,” Irvin said. “The kid needs to see that in people.”
Hill’s knees haven’t been an issue this offseason, but Irvin cited technical flaws in the 6-4, 215-pound receiver’s elongated strides. Mornhinweg and Lal have emphasized the finer points of route running such as shortening stride length on various patterns to maximize the efficiency and fluidity of cuts, but it hasn’t necessarily clicked for their pupil.
“Speed is the derivative of stride length and stride frequency,” said Irvin, who is an NFL Network analyst. “If you cut down on stride length, you can have more ground contact. You build up stride frequency by taking shorter steps, so you can make more (precise) cuts.”
Stephen Hill has only 45 receptions with two full seasons in the NFL and
According to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Jets tried to trade Hill this summer but were unable to do so.
“No takers,” Schefter reported.
“I think there would be some interest,” an AFC personnel executive said. “There aren’t a lot of free-agent wide receivers out there, so it’s supply and demand.” -USA Today.
“In 2012 Jets’ top scout, Joey Clinkscales, said Hill’s size-speed combination reminded him of another former Georgia Tech wideout, Calvin Johnson. Yes, that Calvin Johnson.” Remember, he ran a 4.36/40, not bad for a 6′ – 4″ 210# receiver. But Hill only had 28 receptions.
Clinkscales is now an executive with the Oakland Raiders.
“They’re still battling for roster spots, and it’s not a slam dunk to say it’s going to be this player or that player, It’s probably close in a couple of situations.” Rex Ryan said.
Jets Fans are watching and commenting. He has yet to respond with better play.