New York Jets second-year wide receiver Stephen Hill was supposed to be the team’s No. 1 go-to guy, even with Santonio Holmes on the roster. The Jets drafted Hill in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft with hopes of making the speedy receiver their offensive weapon.
Hill is the prototypical wide receiver with his frame at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, but his game is still raw. He’s 22 years old and has one year of pro experience under his belt, but throughout his overall career he hasn’t had the chance to master his position — well, at least not yet. Hill, coming out of Georgia Tech, hauled in only 49 receptions in college because the school ran a triple-option offense and they barely threw the ball, so of course there is a lot of room for improvement for Hill.
In his rookie season, Hill finished with 21 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns but also had several critical drops in important games. Hill showed some promise a few weeks into his second season; in his first game the receiver had six receptions for 39 yards. In his second game, Hill picked up his production and finished with eight receptions for 86 yards. Hill blew up in the third game against the Buffalo Bills, finishing with six receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. But after Week 3, Hill has disappeared from the offense; in his last six games, Hill has a combined 10 receptions for 107 yards and no touchdowns.
What’s with the receiver’s lack of production? Can it be the play calls or does the offensive coordinator feel that Hill’s route-running isn’t there yet?
Hill’s drops have gone down, but his route-running still isn’t there — which is unacceptable in a Marty Mornhinweg offense that works on precision and timing. So what should the Jets do with him? It’s no secret that the Jets lack offensive weapons, so Hill’s time is ticking. He can no longer be a one-trick pony, and he has to do more than just stretch the field with his speed.
Hill relied on his speed to make plays throughout his football career, but as a pro he can no longer do that. The receiver needs to focus on learning his routes, keep his eyes on the football, know how to use his body and make those tough catches that keep drives alive if he wants to remain on the team and be an important part of the Jets’ offense.