In the NFL, sometimes it’s easy to forget that just how young some of these athletes are. Case in point, New York Jets second-year wide receiver Stephen Hill (#84, above), who just turned 22 years of age this past April.
Hill had a debut to remember, scoring two touchdowns in a Week 1 victory. But despite that early success, it was a rough rookie season for the young wideout, and it ended with him on the injured reserve due to a knee injury.
In 2013, the Jets’ receiving corps is a year older, a year wiser, but it’s still a young group of wideouts overall.
Santonio Holmes, an eight-year veteran who’s coming off a serious foot injury, was really the only receiver on the Jets roster with significant NFL experience until the Jets signed veteran Ben Obomanu this week.
Third-year man Jeremy Kerley was one of the brightest of bright spots on the Jets’ offense last year, and he and Holmes will likely be the Jets’ top two targets when Holmes is healthy enough to suit up and get on the field.
Other receivers in camp include relative unknowns Clyde Gates, Jordan White, Joe Collins, Thomas Mayo and Vidal Hazelton, and undrafted rookies Zach Rogers, Ryan Spadola, K.J. Stroud and Marcus Davis.
But if the Jets’ receiving corps is going to emerge as a reliable group of targets for whoever is throwing the football for the Jets in 2013, Stephen Hill is the X-factor that can make the Jets’ passing game a legitimate threat.
Hill has the size and speed to be a big-time player in this league, and training camp this summer will be a huge opportunity for Hill to show the Jets that he’s ready to contribute in a major way. It’s up to him to make it happen.
After sitting out the start of OTA’s as a precaution, Hill’s surgically repaired knee has healed well enough for him to participate in practices again. The hope is that Hill be 100% physically and mentally when camp begins.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Stephen Hill has a bright future in the NFL. The only question is when he’ll be ready to put it all together. This summer in training camp, Hill will be looking to prove that the future is now.