New York Jets 2013 NFL Breakout Candidate: Stephen Hill

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Potential can be a dangerous word when describing an athlete. Experts are basically saying that these individuals possess talent, but have yet to harness these skills. The New York Jets are suddenly full of young players and one is under pressure to start performing this year.

Receiver Stephen Hill was selected by the Jets in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. When looking at this player, one notices a solid build right away as he stands at 6-foot-4. Height is valuable, especially in the red zone, when a quarterback can use jump balls and fade patterns. Hill also possesses blazing speed that allows him to sneak behind defensive backs.

Of course, a complete player evaluation must include some of his concerns. Polished definitely describes Hill’s game. At Georgia Tech, his 28 receptions in 2011 represented a three-year high. Their triple option-based offense has a lot to do with this, but it shows that growth still must take place.

This lack of experience in the passing game was evident at times, most notably when Hill dropped what may have been a game-winning touchdown catch against AFC East rival New England Patriots. Injury also cut his rookie season as he missed five games. There is reason to believe Hill can turn it around.

A lack of other known weapons means that he will likely see more targets. Santonio Hill’s rehab from last season’s Lisfrance injury continues to be tough. Jeremy Kerely looks like he could emerge, but is better suited in the slot. Zach Rodgers looks to turn heads and Ben Obomanu is nothing more than for depth.

Playing with a new quarterback in rookie Geno Smith could help if they develop timing. Smith brings superior arm strength compared to Mark Sanchez, and could held help Hill become an exciting performer.


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