Some post-draft tidbits for you about Stephen Hill. The Jets PR people were good enough to send me a transcript from a news conference with GM Mike Tannenbaum, college scouting VP Joey Clinkscales and senior personnel executive Terry Bradway. Some interesting stuff on Mr. Hill.
1. Tannenbaum said the team studied Demaryius Thomas’ adjustment to the NFL to get an idea of how Hill might transition from the Tech offense to the NFL, and spent a lot of time getting to know Hill. In addition to the pro day at Tech, the Jets worked him out at their facility and also in Atlanta, which lasted about an hour and a half.
Tannenbaum: “We really feel he can run all the routes we’ll ask in our offense. Again, he was a very good blocker in a run-oriented offense. He has very good football acumen and we feel the transition can happen really quickly.”
2. Clinkscales’ assessment of Hill: “He is a tall kid who can run. He is flexible, can sink his hips, he can drop his weight and get in and out of routes. More (important) than the offense is his skill set, and I think his skill set transfers to this level pretty well.”
3. Clinkscales, on if Hill reminds the Jets of anyone:
“He’s unique. He’s a 6’4 kid that weighs 215 and runs a 4.32. He’s a unique athlete, he really is. Calvin Johnson, maybe? And I’m not going to put that label on him but from a height, weight, speed moniker. He’s just a unique athlete.”
4. Tannenbaum shared an interesting detail from his interview with Hill regarding his recruitment to Tech. As presumably a lot of teams did, the Jets asked Hill why a wide receiver would play for a run-oriented offense.
Tannenbaum: “He said they were initially the only team that had offered him and he had committed to them and later on in the process a few other more traditional passing teams had offered him a scholarship, but he didn’t want to back out on his commitment,” Tannenbaum said. “I thought that was very admirable. Again, that’s not why we took him or why we were interested in him, but that was an interesting anecdote because we were asking him why would you go there knowing you’re a receiver and that they’re going to run the ball.”
If you’ll remember, Hill committed to Tech in the fall of 2008 (he had actually committed to Central Florida prior to that) before Georgia (Tennessee did, as well) made a late push, which caused Hill to waver before sticking with Tech.
5. Bradway on the transition from the Tech offense:
“I think there’s a transition for all of them, to be honest with you. With the spread offenses, they don’t normally run the NFL route tree. But it was important for us to put him through that to see that he could do it. Like I said, at the combine, at his pro day, and at his work out for us, he showed that he can do that. This guy is really coachable. He’s willing to work. With (wide receivers coach) Sanjay (Lal) and our offensive coaches, I think the upside is going to happen pretty quickly for this kid.”
6. Clinkscales on why Hill didn’t have more catches in bigger games:
“Well, I would go back to what was stated a few minutes ago. On the season they completed 64 passes. So probably against some of the better teams they weren’t completing a lot of passes. I don’t think it had anything to do with his production in those games. They had a tough time throwing the ball.”
6. Hill said that he was hoping to end up with the Jets, given the connection he’d made with coaches during the pre-draft meetings.
“They had a little bit of background on me, and I had a great background on them. I feel like I’m in the right spot.”
On playing in a pro-style offense with Mark Sanchez: “I feel great, especially now that I’m in an offense where I can catch the football a little bit more. Catching the ball from Mark Sanchez is great. I’m going to make sure I get with him as soon as possible and we’re going to try to get this thing rolling.”
On what he’ll bring to the Jets:
“A lot of big plays down the field and getting big touchdowns at the right time, of course. Other than that, I feel like I could bring a lot, especially blocking. I can definitely put somebody on their butt.”
Thanks for reading.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog