The Jets needed a big, fast receiver who could stretch the field on the outside, and they got one by trading up with Seattle to select Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill, a workout warrior with questions about his experience.
With Plaxico Burress, a top red-zone target, not returning to the team, finding another Braylon Edwards was key for the Jets. Chaz Schilens has been injury-prone, and the depth at receiver was lacking. Like their first pick, Quinton Coples, the Jets are taking a big swing by going after Hill, a boom-or-bust talent.
Hill tore up the Combine with a 4.31 40-yard dash. At 6-4, 215, he has the size to line up on the outside and blow the top off a defense, but there are serious questions about his experience. Playing in a triple-option offense, Hill had only 28 catches last season — but he had 820 yards receiving, a whopping 29.3 yards a catch.
Hill has good leaping ability, something that should make QB Mark Sanchez happy, as the signalcaller has been known to overthrow his targets at times. Tony Sparano’s ground-and-pound offense needs a vertical threat, as the run is designed to set up deep passes, and the Jets hope Hill can be the target who can complement Santonio Holmes.
A raw player, Hill will need some good coaching and strength development to live up to his potential. His experience as a run blocker should be an asset to a Jets team that will run more than pass next season.
Jets fans should be excited about Hill’s high ceiling. The team’s first two picks have plenty of physical tools to become impressive NFL players. For Coples, he needs to show the work ethic to fulfill it, and Hill needs to get more experience.
This was a nice move by GM Mike Tannenbaum, who is no stranger to trading up, to go get Hill, who fits exactly what the Jets’ offense needs.
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