Jacksonville Jaguars Eyeing Wide Receiver Stephen Hill In 2012 NFL Draft
It is no secret that the Jacksonville Jaguars are searching for an impact wide receiver in this year’s NFL Draft.
The Jaguars are coming off of a season in which they had the worst passing offense in the NFL and they are desperate to give Blaine Gabbert some reliable weapons to help him become a franchise quarterback.
According to Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union, the Jaguars have taken an interest in Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill.
Hill is an interesting prospect at the receiver position given his combination of size and speed. At 6’4″ and 215 pounds, Hill ran an impressive 4.36 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine back in February.
However, it is not athleticism that is the biggest knock against Hill.
At Georgia Tech, Hill was part of a triple option offense that rarely threw the football. Hill did most of his damage down the field as the only route he really ran in college was the fly pattern or nine route. He did not have to run the entire route tree in college and his lack of experience in a traditional NFL offense is troubling.
Despite the offense, Hill was extremely productive at Georgia Teach last season. He averaged 29.3 yards per catch in 2011 as he used his elite speed to burn defensive backs deep down the field.
Most mock drafts have Hill going late in the first round, so it would be foolish for the Jaguars to believe he will still be on the board when they pick in the second round. While Hill would certainly be seen as a reach with the seventh pick, the Jaguars have reportedly been looking to trade down and if that is the case they would certainly be able to target him in the middle of the first round.
Given the circumstances that Hill performed under during college, it would be unfair to expect him to immediately step in and become a number one receiver from day one. Hill is more of a project that would benefit from some time to develop, but he may have the highest upside of any receiver available in the draft.