It’s one thing to be athletically gifted and have a chance to play in the NFL. It’s another to prove that you deserve a chance to stay on an NFL roster. New York Jets‘ Stephen Hill was a second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and so far it’s safe to say that he’s been a bust.
The 6-foot-4, 23-year-old wide receiver from Georgia Techhas the similarities of the school’s former alumni Calvin Johnson. Both are tall, fast and have the ability to break a big play in the blink of an eye, but for Hill his problems are consistency and catching the ball.
It’s also hard making a name for yourself as a receiver at Georgia Tech because its teams are known for running the ball on almost every down. Sure, Johnson and Hill still had great college careers and Johnson a great NFL career so far, but maybe Hill wasn’t ready for the pros. Maybe Hill isn’t accustomed to the pressures of being a sure-handed wide receiver and the need to be called upon to deliver big plays.
During the 2014 NFL Draft, the Jets loved Hill so much that they traded up just to grab him. It’s hard not to like a tall receiver with 4.36 speed and a high school record holder for his ability as a long jumper. NFL scouts also raved about Hill and said he was arguably one of the best receivers in the draft, but like I mentioned; talent is nice and all, but results are better.
Now the question remains, with roster cuts right around the corner and a veteran like Clyde Gates, who is fighting to make the team following a great preseason, do the Jets finally cut ties? It’s a hard question to answer, but I still think that it’s a little too early.
This is Hill’s third season as a pro and it’s time for him to step up and play to his ability. I’ll give him a mulligan for his rookie year and heck, I’ll give him one last year too, but now Hill must deliver. No more drops, bad routes and excuses. It’s your third year at the pro level and there are players — like Gates — who are dying to have another chance to prove themselves on an NFL roster.
Maybe I’m being too nice giving away free mulligans, but I, like the Jets, still see the untapped potential in Hill.