Lost in the talk about Greg McElroy’s first NFL appearance and the success of the defense was the play of Stephen Hill. Hill was the New York Jets second round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft from Georgia Tech. He’s had trouble catching the ball most evidently in the first game against the New England Patriots but was very solid against the Arizona Cardinals.
Hill caught 5-of-8 passes thrown his way for 40 yards. His best catch of the game came in the third quarter when he converted a third down attempt. The Jets had a 3rd and 6, from the Cardinals 43-yard line when McElroy hit Hill for eight yards. Hill went up and snagged the ball to move the chains. It seemed like he wanted to make the play for McElroy and this is something that needs to happen the rest of the season. He made another catch where replays showed him catching the ball with his hands which is also something he needs to work on and improve.
Georgia Tech runs the triple option so receivers hardly ever catch passes. Hill caught a combined 49 passes in his college career. He caught six passes as a freshman, 15 as a sophomore and 28 in his junior season. You would expect his hands to be questionable with so little attempts. When he does catch the ball he makes big plays. He averaged 29.3 yards-per-catch as a junior and had an overall average of 25.5.
As a rookie, Hill has caught 21 passes for 252 yards with three touchdowns. His best game was the opener against the Buffalo Bills when he caught five passes for 89 yards with two touchdowns. His other touchdown came in the 35-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in October. It will be vital that Hill continues to develop over the last four regular season games.