The Los Angeles Chargers ended the NFL Draft free fall of wide receiver prospect K.J. Hill on Saturday. What does the former Buckeye bring to the Chargers’ offense?
First, it was pick 151, and I thought there was no possible way the Los Angeles Chargers could pass up on Ohio State WR K.J. Hill. Then, it was pick 186, and at this point, it was highway robbery if he wasn’t taken in the sixth. Finally, it was pick 220, and I was in complete doubt that he was getting drafted at all. Next thing I see? K.J. Hill’s name scrolling onto the screen in powder blue.
KJ Hill in the 7th round is just stealing imo. I'd take that whether I needed WR help or not. That guy's just going to get open.
Someone make it happen
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) April 25, 2020
It is nothing short of incredible that Hill was available in the seventh round, and it was more amazing to think that the Los Angeles Chargers got one of the top separators in the class so late. Hill impressed over the Senior Bowl week, showing quick feet and burst that surprised many. It was obvious on tape that Hill could separate, but not at the playmaking level he showed in Mobile.
K.J. Hill, ladies and gentlemen pic.twitter.com/5Z6Ch1M584
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 23, 2020
K.J. Hill broke Ohio State’s record for most receptions ever. You heard that right. Ever. He did it in a dominant fashion, with reliable hands, technical routes, and burst on underneath routes. Sound familiar? It should, as the team currently has a wide receiver in Keenan Allen that showed very similar traits in college.
Hill is listed at 6-0, 196 lbs. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds at the NFL Combine. He also showed some power in the bench press by going 17 reps. Despite the 4.6 speed, Hill showed some effectiveness in the intermediate/deep passing game. According to PFF, Hill had 8 catches, 222 yards, and 4 touchdowns on targets beyond 20+ yards. The real kicker here? Zero drops on those targets. Music to my ears.
Hill is probably looking to be the third wide receiver on the team, with Joe Reed, taken two rounds ahead of Hill, will likely be more of a gadget player. With Hill, you’re looking at reliability, versus Reed’s playmaking.
This is an important difference to note, as you shouldn’t be looking for overly flashy plays from Hill in the preseason like you would be looking for from Reed. With Hill, Chargers fans should be watching for consistent hands between the hashes, and quick feet on routes.
It will be a lot of fun to see how Keenan Allen mentors Hill to overcome his lack of speed. Allen took the next step in his career when Steve Johnson was around to mentor him, so it will be neat to see if that mentoring rubbed off on Keenan Allen, seeing the legacy of Johnson’s freestyle route running live on through both Allen and Hill.
K.J. Hill is gonna win the slot job in L.A., benefit from the attention being paid to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and halfway through next season everyone (read: a bunch of dummies) are gonna go "where the heck did this dude come from?"
fave my tweet
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) April 25, 2020
K.J. Hill compiled 207 receptions for 2,332 yards and 20 touchdowns in his time at Ohio State, and such production is no joke. Hill was also coached by former Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline, who has been churning out talent from Ohio State and into the NFL for a couple years now.
Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell being recent examples. Terry McLaurin was another wide receiver who tore it up at the combine, and I’d like to think the former Buckeye worked out pretty well for the Washington Redskins.
The addition of K.J. Hill will also allow Keenan Allen to return to what he does best, which is versatility. Allen was on another level in 2015 when Steve Johnson and Malcolm Floyd were there to allow him the freedom to move in and out of the slot. This created big statistical outings against the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, who had no answer for when Allen had his way with them.
Overall, I really loved this pick by the Chargers. K.J. Hill finally brings a reliable option to the team after a season in which it was Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and a carousel of inconsistency behind the two. It also gives new Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback Justin Herbert an additional option going into the future. I couldn’t be happier that the position is deeper than it has been in a long time for the team.