July 23, 2014

A.J. Green 2.0?

Change the colors on the uniform and Hill starts to look a lot like A.J. Green.

Last year, the Bengals drafted a wide receiver out of the state of Georgia. And this year, the Bengals might be looking at the psoition again, although most people expect it to be in the middle rounds or later.

Enter Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill. As many people across cyberspace have noted, Green is off to a fast start at the NFL Combine, blazing to an estimated 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and an impressive 11-1 in the broad jump. When I spoke to long-time draft guru Gil Brandt recently, Hill was one of the wide receivers that had impressed Brandt.

And when I got my own eyes on him during the televised combine coverage, here’s what I saw – an A.J. Green clone. Hill is 6-4 and 208 pounds. Green is listed as 6-4 and 207.

In fact, the most glaring difference between the two is collegiate production. Green was a very accomplished and oft-targeted receiver in a pro-style offense at the University of Georgia. Hill was underutilized in Georgia Tech’s option attack. But it’s worth noting that on Hill’s 28 receptions last season, he recorded 820 yards and five touchdowns, good for an eye-popping 29 yards per catch and a touchdown almost every six times he caught the ball.

While many people believe that the Bengals need a possession-type receiver opposite Green, I’m not one of them. The team already has Jordan Shipley, Jermaine Gresham, and Ryan Whalen for that. Why not put an explosive receiver opposite Green, especially considering that said receiver is going to face a lot of single coverage?

Hill would be the perfect fit. The only trouble is, his combine performance and his combination of size and speed will probably lift him far beyond where the Bengals might want to draft him, perhaps as high as the end of the first round.

It’s unlikely that Hill will be able to duplicate the sensational rookie season of A.J. Green, but from a purely physical standpoint, they’re not the different.

Hill is just a more recent version.

A.J. 2.0.

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Comments

  1. ItsSkylineTime says:

    Don’t forget about Little Hawk, he has to get more snaps in the four-wide set next season. Like your thinking on Hill, and Cordy Glenn – with you on both counts.

  2. Bill says:

    I’ve never heard of the kid, but I love the strategy. Forcing DCs to choose whether to roll coverage to the outside to contain two speedy receivers or protect the middle of the field against a pair of zone-busters just makes sense. And it opens possibilities of a run/catch RB threat and a shifty guy like Hawkins.