Summary: Hill is one of the more interesting prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft. The big wide receiver has rare speed and explosion. Georgia Tech has been producing wideouts with that rare combination over the past decade with Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas as prime examples. Hill is the latest in that line.
The Yellow Jackets' offense didn't throw the ball often, but when it did, Hill was typically wide open as defenses were so focused on stopping the option running attack. He made big catches downfield, averaging 29.3 yards per catch in 2011. The junior caught 28 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns. Hill ran a lot of go routes and just burned by defensive backs with his rare speed.
Though Hill was also a good blocker for the ground game, he constantly ran deep routes down the field. As a result, he is not a developed receiver who has run the entire route tree in collegiate action.
Hill was one of the top performers at the NFL Scouting Combine. He burned through his 40-yard dash in a time at 4.36 seconds with a fabulous time of 1.20 seconds in the 10-yard split. Hill showed explosion in the vertical leap and broad jump. He also performed well in the field receiving drills. Hill duplicated those feats at his Pro Day and impressed scouts. He was said to show good route-running skills and natural hands. The Combine was a big catalyst for Hill to make a move from the second day of the draft into the first round.
There is no doubt that Hill is a rare athlete with his combination of size and speed. He could use some developmental time in the NFL and should not be expected to be a No. 1 receiver from day one. Hill would benefit by learning behind some veterans and landing with a stable, experienced coaching staff. Entering the next level, he has a lot of upside and high ceiling to become a play-maker. His skill set and tantalizing big-play ability make will entice some team to take him late in the first round.
Player Comparison: Demaryius Thomas. Hill is very similar to the Broncos' young play-making receiver. They both made huge plays at Georgia Tech while being underutilized. Both Thomas and Hill have big size with speed and explosion. It wouldn't be surprising if Hill turns into a wideout who is similar to Thomas.
NFL Matches: Chicago, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, New England, San Francisco
Hill could land with a number of teams, and it wouldn't be surprising if he goes to an unexpected squad. The Bears need more help at receiver even after trading for Brandon Marshall. Hill would provide another big-play receiver for Jay Cutler to work with. Tennessee could use help at receiver, especially with Kenny Britt coming back from a bad knee injury.
The Bengals could be one of those surprise teams that takes Hill. They've been scouting receivers hard looking for a complement to A.J. Green. The Broncos could use another weapon for Peyton Manning. Combining Hill and Thomas could be a lethal duo. Houston is searching for a receiver to complement and potentially replace Andre Johnson in the years to come. The Patriots may feel that Hill is too good a weapon to pass up. San Francisco could use a young receiver, as Randy Moss is only a short-term answer.