Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Get to Know 'Em: Jason Hill

Rather than add my voice to the legion of bloggers speculating on the Vikings' first round pick, I'm going to take the draft analysis a step further and preview players the Vikings might take with the 41st overall pick. And in case you're wondering, I'm getting the ideas for players from NFL Draft Countdown, Draft Tek and FF Tool Box. So for all I know, these guys will all be gone in the first round, or will still be available when the Vikings draft in the third round. If it's the latter, let's all pretend this was a third round preview, ok? Thanks.

April 3: Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Ohio St.
April 4: Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina

April 5: Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia
April 8: Steve Smith, WR, USC
April 10: Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
April 18: Jason Hill, WR, Washington St.

You like speed? You like blinding, "get out the peanut butter because that corner just got toasted" speed? Then you'll probably like Jason Hill, a 6 foot. 210 lb senior from Washington St. and his 4.32 forty. The only player in the draft with a better time was Ted Ginn, Jr. But like all speedsters, there are some questions.

Hill has a lot going for him aside from his unreal forty time. He is a solid route runner, one that doesn't allow defensive backs to bump him off his route. And his production looks even more impressive when you consider that Washington State's quarterbacks were awful. His hands are good and he has a nose for the end zone, scoring double digit touchdowns his sophomore and junior years.

He didn't reach that mark his senior year, partially due to ankle and calf injuries which caused him to miss his last two games and which have raised some questions about his durability. And even taking his injuries into consideration, Hill's drop off in production senior year should raise a red flag among NFL GMs. There's also some questions about whether his forty time was an aberration, as he didn't always display game breaking speed in college. He may be a possession type receiver with a deep threat's forty time.

It's those questions, as well as the availability of better receivers in the second round that drops Hill in my rankings. The fact that the type of receiver Hill will be is still up in the air should be enough to keep the Vikings away, especially since they should be able to get a much better version of Hill, whether he ends up as a possession receiver or a deep threat.

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