New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft Profile: FIU WR T.Y. Hilton
Hilton is small at 5-10 (I have seen him listed at 5-9 or 5-9 ½), 185, but very fast. Once he gets in space he is a threat to score. He is, for lack of a better word, explosive in the slot. He is best utilized in screens where he can catch the ball without a defensive back on top of him and then create something. He has superior vision and running back-like instincts to make something happen after the catch. He can change directions without losing any speed and has shifty hips that make defenders miss.
A lot of people thought because he played at Florida International that he didn’t face top end competition. However, in 2009, he put up 167 all-purpose yards against then#1 ranked Florida, including 4 catches for 75 yards. He also returned four kickoffs for 92 yards. Not bad against the #1 team in that nation. Against a very good Rutgers team that same year he scored two touchdowns, both of them in fourth quarter, and a two-point conversion. He also had nine catches that game for 80 yards.
His biggest knock is probably his injury history. He injured his quad in the Beef O’Brady Bowl which caused him to miss the Senior Bowl and limited his participation at the NFL Combine to only the bench press where he put up 14 reps so strength is not much of an issue. He also hurt his hamstring in 2010. At his size it might be difficult to stay healthy in the NFL though none of his injuries came as a result of contact.
He can be inconsistent catching the ball. One play he will make a diving catch leading people to wonder how he did that and then one play later drop a pass that he should have caught. That could be due to the fact that he was always the target of double-teams and often the only real weapon in FIU’s arsenal. He was often called on for end-arounds and compiled 7 rushing TD’s in his college career on 69 rushes.
Hilton is not afraid of the middle of the field. I consistently saw him flying down the middle of the field leaving defensive backs in his dust. He can certainly be a threat in screens where he follows blocks well and uses his ability to avoid contact. He will also be a threat in the NFL as a slot receiver, exploiting a weaker corner or exploiting a safety, especially deep over the middle.
It will take Hilton some time to adapt to the NFL game but he should be able to contribute right away on special teams as a kick and punt returner. His size and level of competition might scare some teams away but his work ethic is unquestioned and his ability to make something happen is apparent. He will work his tail off at the next level. He often spent hours watching film, learning how to exploit defenses and how to get better.
Ultimately, Hilton is a Tom Coughlin kind of guy. He is undervalued and hard-working. The Giants are always looking for help on special teams it seems and the answer could be Hilton. Adding Hilton to a receiving corps with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz would give the Giants a trio of home run threats. Hilton could be available in fourth round or maybe even the sixth but I think he might be one of the biggest surprises at the receiver position, much like Victor Cruz.