Former Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill slipped out of the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night. Many draft projections pegged Hill, who left Tech after his junior season, to go to San Francisco at the No. 30 spot. The 49ers did take a wide receiver, but it was Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins, projected as an early second-round choice. Overall, four wide receivers were taken in the first round – Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon to Jacksonville at No. 5, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd to St. Louis Arizona at No. 13, Baylor’s Kendall Wright to Tennessee at No. 20 and Jenkins.
Hill, invited to New York for the draft, will likely go early in the second round, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday. The first 10 picks of the second round – St. Louis, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Denver, Cleveland, Jacksonville, St. Louis, Carolina, Buffalo and Miami. Hill visited with the Ravens prior to the draft. (He also reportedly visited with the New York Jets, Philadelphia, Tennessee and Minnesota.) With the exception of Jacksonville, which took Blackmon in the first round, the other nine teams have a need at wide receiver to one degree or another and could select Hill. Another team could also trade up to take Hill.
A few intriguing landing spots are Indianapolis, where Hill could pair with first overall pick Andrew Luck; Denver, where he could line up opposite former Jackets star Demaryius Thomas and catch passes from Peyton Manning; Carolina, where he could become the go-to guy of Cam Newton, another Atlanta product; and Buffalo, where he would be coached by former Tech coach Chan Gailey and be a teammate of his former quarterback, Bills safety Joshua Nesbitt.
An interesting post script to the Jenkins pick. My thanks to a Twitter follower who noted that Gailey recruited Jenkins out of Jacksonville, Fla., and received a commitment from him in the summer of 2007, but he de-committed in the fall. (confirmed on Jenkins” Rivals page) Interesting to think what might have happened if he’d kept his commitment and then maintained it after the coaching change. The other great part about Jenkins’ page? He was the No. 53 wide receiver in the country that year. (Floyd was No. 6 and Blackmon was No. 91. Wright was the No. 64 “athlete.” Julio Jones and A.J. Green were Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. In 2009, Hill was No. 99.)
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog