By Rich Tandler
INDIANAPOLIS—Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech caught just 28 passes last year in the Yellow Jackets’ ground-based offense. But he made the most of them and he has the attention of many NFL teams, including the Redskins.
The 6-4, 215-lb. wide receiver gained 820 yards on those catches, a jaw-dropping average of 29.3 yards. To be sure, a lot of that had to do with passing being a surprise element of the Tech offense. But his size and speed helped him get the job done as well. He’s pretty fast for a big guy. Hill expects to run an elite time in the 40-yard dash on Sunday.
His speed apparently is of great interest to NFL teams. “Every one of them did ask what I was going to run in the 40,” Hill said when asked what coaches want to know about him in interview sessions. “I guess they just want to see what kind of speed I have.”
What does he tell them?
“I’m going to run fast,” Hill said with a smile.
He said that he has been clocked in the range of 4.4 seconds. “I’m thinking about running a 4.3 but, you know, whatever happens on Sunday happens,” he said.
If something close to a 4.3 is indeed what happens, his draft stock could shoot up. Right now analysts project that he will go anywhere from late in the first round to somewhere in the third round. A fast time in the 40 certainly would push up those assessments.
Hill doesn’t seem to be particularly worried about it. He said he has “no kind of feel” for where he might be picked. “I’m here to show my talents and if I put up some good numbers I hope I get a good draft pick,” he said.
The Redskins could well be looking to add a receiver in the draft. Adding one with Hill’s size could help their prospects in the red zone, where they struggled last year. According to some scouts, Hill needs a lot of development to become a well-rounded receiver but he is talented enough to contribute in packages in areas like the red zone right away.
Hill said that he talked to Redskins wide receivers coach Ike Hilliard on Thursday. That’s a very preliminary expression of some interest and we will see if the process plays out further from there.
Rich Tandler will be covering the NFL Combine from Indianapolis all week. Any questions? Hit him up on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.