6-5/260 N.C. State
Pros: Is a big, strong, physical and scrappy blocker that likes to get after defenders and can dominate linebackers. A good straight ahead blocker. Has good hands and is a physical runner after the catch, that is hard to bring down due to his size and strength. Gets a good release and shows nice athleticism and quickness. Can challenge defenses vertically.
Cons: Not a true burner. Needs to improve his technique as a blocker, particularly his footwork and getting better position on the edge. Can block high at times and doesn't always lock onto defender. Needs to do a better job securing the ball after the catch, bringing it closer to his body as he'll sometimes carry it like a loaf of bread. Some pouts at times when he's not thrown the ball when he's open. Doesn't always finish the block or play which may cause concerns about his work ethic.
Overview: He's a guy that really shows great potential as a blocker. He was a bit underused at N.C. State, often times with the quarterback Russell Wilson opting to go for the big play deep, when he was open underneath. But he has good potential as a pass catcher due to his combo of size, speed, and athleticism. Only had 19 catches this past year after 45 as a junior in 2006. Missed all of 2007 season with torn ACL. Went to Hargrave Military Academy for a year, where he played defense. You can tell by the way he blocks.
NFL Forecast: Hill reminds me a lot of Bubba Franks. I'm not sure he has the "it" that will consistently make him an impact player in the passing game, but he'll certainly pull his weight in the running game. He still needs some work, but if you can improve his technique a bit more, he can be one of the better blockers in the league. I think he can be productive in the passing game, but I'm not sure he'll be a playmaker there despite having the potential to be. I see his career mirroring that of Franks. He'll show his potential early, and he'll remain a starter for a number of years because his blocking is so good. But his team (like the Packers with Franks) will spend several years waiting for him to become that consistent impact receiver, and then eventually they'll get tired of waiting and will move on. He'll become a journeyman at that point, hired for his blocking ability, but never sticking because teams are wanting to try and develop other younger talent.
ATL Forecast: Hill fits well in Atlanta. He has the potential to be an upgrade in the passing game since his size and athleticism exceeds that of Peelle, and his blocking skills are solid. He could replace both Falcon players within two years assuming he works hard. He could be a nice fixture here for several years, but eventually because of limited progress as a receiver, age, finances or whatever he'll replaced by someone. But the Falcons could still get five or six good years from him as a starter before that happens.
Value: Based off his potential as a two-way player, Hill is on a similar plane as first round talent. But because of questionable work ethic, it will be much safer to wait to draft him in the third round.
Scouting Reports of tight ends in the 2009 NFL Draft.
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