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Road to the Draft: Stephen Hill

Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
6-foot-4, 215 pounds
Draft projection: 30th to 45th overall

Lowdown: When the college season ended, a lot of draftniks were thinking Hill would be a third or fourth-round pick. He left college a year early, and he only caught 49 passes in three seasons for the Ramblin’ Wreck. He showed impressive big-play ability in 2011 by catching 28 passes for 820 yards – a 29.3-yard average.

Then he had a stunning workout at the NFL Scouting Combine. Hill ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.36 seconds, tied for second fastest among all players. He had a 39.5-inch vertical jump. Hill led the nation in yards per catch last season, and he played in a run-oriented offense. He is a true deep threat who can strike fear into defenses.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock on Hill: “The tough thing with Stephen Hill is coming out of that option offense, he's hard to evaluate. We went through this with (Denver’s) Demaryius Thomas (last year). But he ran officially a 4.36. He broad-jumped 11-feet, 1. I forget his vertical, but it didn't matter, it was out of the gym. The point is his acceleration, his burst, his quickness. And even more important to me, OK, now you've shown me you're an athletic track star. When he got on the field and caught the football, he didn't double-catch balls. He made hands catches out in front of him. From a football perspective, every team in the league now has a lot of homework to do. He's a hard guy to figure out, just like Demaryius Thomas was, because you don't see real routes. All you see are verticals and crosses and play-action and jump balls. You've got to do your homework on this kid. And trust me, he's kind of pushed himself right up in the forefront of this wide receiver thing.”

---Mark Gaughan


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