For one reason or another, not a single running back was selected in the first round of the NFL draft this year. There were, however, three running backs taken within four picks of each other. The second of those RBs was Cincinnati Bengals selection Jeremy Hill out of LSU. That selection raises some eyebrows — the Bengals already have a good running duo. So, maybe this is a tell tale sign that Hill is just too good to pass up.
In his two seasons as a Tiger, Hill topped 2,000 yards on just 345 carries, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He also proved effective as a battering ram, scoring 28 touchdowns.
He improved in every category as a sophomore, including a near seven yards per attempt from his 5.2 mark as a freshman. His sophomore year was very impressive, but his accolades in his first season prove that he can transition from one stage to the next very well, coming from high school to a reputable D-I program.
He’s being grandfathered into a new Hue Jackson offense that likes to run the ball through the line, something the 233 pound rookie has proven effective at.
Cincinnati has a crowded backfield, so he’ll have to compete with Giovanni Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis for carries.
He’s not a very competitive back in terms of receiving ability, something that has become a near requisite to be a successful running back in today’s game. His maturity needs to be analyzed; in the summer of 2013, Hill was charged with misdemeanor battery after a bar incident.
He also lacks a burst of speed to out run the speedy defenders in this defensive backfield dominated league.
Rookie RBs typically don’t have great first seasons; they usually take a season or two to adjust to the league’s atmosphere and style. However, it appears that isn’t the case for Hill.
What will hold back his talents are the opportunities that will be withheld in a crowded backfield. He may only pickup a few touchdowns and a few hundred yards as a situational back, but it’s too soon to make any clear judgment since it’s only June. If he impresses enough to see a good percentage of touches, keep him in your watchlist.
Auction Value: $4
Bye Week: 4
Projected Round: 11 (12 team league)