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Georgia Tech coach says Stephen Hill is ready for an NFL offense

Stephen Hill AP

For a college football program that runs an old-school run-first offense, Georgia Tech has had a surprising wealth of talent at wide receiver. Georgia Tech’s Demaryius Thomas was the first receiver drafted in 2010, and Stephen Hill is likely to go in the first round of this year’s NFL draft.

The conventional wisdom is that Thomas and Hill are natural talents who were ready to play at a high level at a young age despite playing in an offense at Georgia Tech that didn’t take advantage of their skills, but Tech coach Paul Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that in reality, his run-first option offense forces wide receivers to learn to become complete players.

Those guys get a little bit of everything,” Johnson said of his wide receivers. “Certainly, they have to block, and they are running routes and reading coverages. That’s what we’ve told those guys all along. A lot of people want to be negative and say it hurts them and they don’t get developed. But the feedback that I’ve gotten is that they [are ready for the NFL]. The offense kind of turns them into a complete player, and they can see all of that on tape.”

Hill has been working out with Thomas and former Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson (who played there before Paul Johnson arrived with his option offense), and Hill said he believes he’s ready to transition from an offense in which he led the team with just 28 catches to a pass-first NFL offense.

“I feel like I can make a great impact,” Hill said.

Hill is probably the best pure athlete of any wide receiver in this year’s draft. If he’s as ready to make the transition as he and his coach think he is, he could make an immediate impact as a rookie.

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33 Responses to “Georgia Tech coach says Stephen Hill is ready for an NFL offense”
  1. blacknole08 says: Apr 15, 2012 4:44 PM

    I think Stephen Hill might be the best raw talent at WR in this draft. He hasn’t hit his ceiling yet and playing in a run-option offense helps him become a more-rounded player (Many WRs don’t like to block, whereas he had to in GT’s offense). Teams love seeing that tenacity from a young player.

    Just imagine how good of a prospect he’d (or Megatron or DT even) be if he played in a pro-style offense in college.

  2. buffalomafia says: Apr 15, 2012 5:04 PM

    The Bills should draft him with second pick?

  3. nflfollower says: Apr 15, 2012 5:19 PM

    Thomas got to the NFL and still didn’t get to play in an NFL offense last season. I will be interested to see what he does this year with manning throwing it to him.

  4. goldrush36 says: Apr 15, 2012 5:41 PM

    I really hope he’s still on the board at #30. We don’t need Coby Fleener with Davis and Walker

  5. asw1028 says: Apr 15, 2012 5:43 PM

    A large part of his success will depend on the coaching he receives from the team that drafts him–just like every other player who has ever been drafted. Raw talent can be a big advantage because the player enters the league with a clean slate and, hopefully, no bad habits.

    I understand the expectations placed on prospects but sometimes it makes me sick. A player’s success or lack of success in the NFL hinges on so many factors that are outside of his control. Successful teams look at a player’s skill set, determine if he fits into their system, draft him and then develop him. Unsuccessful teams draft a random player and simply hope that he is a pro bowler from day one without any need for coaching, development, etc.

  6. outerspace23 says: Apr 15, 2012 5:46 PM

    GT needs a pass first offense then maybe they can start winning games….
    Hill is not raw talent with 28 catches this season.
    Micheal Floyd is raw talent.

  7. bigbuc419 says: Apr 15, 2012 5:58 PM

    Best wr in the draft, would be a great 2nd round pick for the bucs….if teams were dumb enough for him to last that long!

  8. rajbais says: Apr 15, 2012 6:06 PM

    An ideal fit for the Jets!!!

  9. jenniferxxx says: Apr 15, 2012 6:07 PM

    What else is he going to say?

  10. ppdoc13 says: Apr 15, 2012 6:09 PM

    I highly doubt that this guy is available at the end of the first round, but if he is, I would love to pair him up with Torrey Smith and “Q” in the slot. It would give the Ravens a hellacious set of WR’s and give Ray Rice a whole lot more space to run having to commit both your safeties to the pass.

  11. simplesimon1 says: Apr 15, 2012 6:35 PM

    He is the best WR this year. He’s just another example of very good WR grooming and exceptional recruiting at the position at Goergia Tech. Calvin Johnson, then Thomas, now Hill…. Wow!!!

    Despite the lack of need at the position, don’t be surprized that if he falls to #23, the Lions may just grab him and solidify their WR’s as the NFL’s best for the next decade.

    That being said, I highly doubt he makes it past somebody like the Jets

  12. simplesimon1 says: Apr 15, 2012 6:38 PM

    Just for the record, I really hope the Lions go CB or O-line….. But I highly doubt they pass on talent if the player at the position of needed importance isn’t a huge upgrade…. Man I’d like to see Megatron, Young, Hill and Burleson in the slot…. Would be something special

  13. egomaniac247 says: Apr 15, 2012 6:48 PM

    If people are truly being honest with themselves, 90% of us didn’t have this guy rated as a 1st or 2nd round talent until the combine.

    I’m leery of the guy. While the height and speed are certainly there, I just get the feeling that he may be this years Gholston or Curry….a combine warrior.

    I’ll be glad to be wrong. It just seems like no one had him on the radar until the combine.

  14. sjoyner59 says: Apr 15, 2012 7:02 PM

    the birds need to group their two #2s move up and get this guy…we need a big receiver to go with the smurfs(Maclin & Jackson)

  15. denverdave3 says: Apr 15, 2012 7:51 PM

    Based on Thomas’ speaking, Georgia Tech should be ashamed. They should oughta hire some English Professors before they worry about no football.

  16. digitaldonnie says: Apr 15, 2012 7:52 PM

    Wont slip past 22. Browns will draft him.

  17. kansacity88 says: Apr 15, 2012 7:59 PM

    @ outerspace23

    I’d have to disagree. Saying Floyd is a raw talent at WR is kinda shorting him! He is as polished as a WR should be coming out of college! Not trying to disagree and be an ass! Hill is definitely a raw athlete but BOTH will be good, possibly great, players though!

  18. nflfollower says: Apr 15, 2012 8:02 PM

    Simplesimon—–after extending megatron I don’t see them taking a guy like hill in the first. You got it right, the lions will much more likely go OL or CB…. And if nobody they like is there mayhew will try to trade down

  19. lasher1650 says: Apr 15, 2012 8:09 PM

    blacknole08 says:
    Apr 15, 2012 4:44 PM
    I think Stephen Hill might be the best raw talent at WR in this draft. He hasn’t hit his ceiling yet and playing in a run-option offense helps him become a more-rounded player (Many WRs don’t like to block, whereas he had to in GT’s offense). Teams love seeing that tenacity from a young player.

    _________________________________________________________

    1. Nobody cares what you think
    2. WR’s who don’t play in a pro style offense and haven’t hit their cliche’d “ceiling” are more often than not busts and you can take your blocking and “tenacity” and cram it where the sun doesn’t shine – give me a guy that can get over the top of a defense outside the numbers and THAT is a difference making player – not some nebulous blather from a wannabe Kiper talking about a dude’s “celing” and “tenacity”. Dipturd.

  20. outerspace23 says: Apr 15, 2012 8:14 PM

    @kansacity88
    Floyd is raw talent multiple 1,000 yard season, he has size to be a star in the nfl. Speed which he also for being 220.
    Hill is not raw talent, I bet you never heard about the kid until the combine. Where you watching GT games?
    People are saying Floyd might come off the board before Blackmon that there says enough.

  21. babyhorsemorgan says: Apr 15, 2012 8:32 PM

    Hill is all hype and no substance to this point. Thomas was much more impressive in the same role when he was at Georgia Tech. Two years later, DeMaryius has about 50 career catches and just as many drops.

  22. siggtacular says: Apr 15, 2012 9:00 PM

    Ozzie has to sit down and take a look at this guy. Torrey Smith and Stephen Hill on the outside, with Boldin in the slot? Look out NFL if that happens.

  23. taurusturner says: Apr 15, 2012 9:00 PM

    Panthers

  24. kingfish4242 says: Apr 15, 2012 9:00 PM

    egomaniac247 says:
    Apr 15, 2012 6:48 PM
    If people are truly being honest with themselves, 90% of us didn’t have this guy rated as a 1st or 2nd round talent until the combine.

    I’m leery of the guy. While the height and speed are certainly there, I just get the feeling that he may be this years Gholston or Curry….a combine warrior.

    I’ll be glad to be wrong. It just seems like no one had him on the radar until the combine.

    0 3

    ________________________________

    I said the same thing on another thread about Hill and got creamed too lol. I really don”t care about thumbs up or thumbs down,but you are exactly right. Hill is very raw and a big risk in the first round.

    I might be wrong too,but I think if he goes on to be a star in this league, the team that drafts him will have to be patient. Jimmy Johnson once said Wr was the 2nd hardest position to master behind only QB. Wr’s like Moss and Rice who dominate early in their careers are the exception and not the general rule. Wr’s have to read defenses too. If they miss an all out blitz and don’t shorten their route,they can get the Qb killed.

    I’m also leery of any player that shoots up the chart due to eye popping combine numbers. Imo again, if he does succeed, it will take a few seasons before his potential is released.

  25. texansfan81 says: Apr 15, 2012 10:49 PM

    Please texans draft this guy

  26. grimlock410 says: Apr 15, 2012 10:59 PM

    The Jets should draft him and TheMichael James and run the Paul Johnson triple option.

  27. goldrush36 says: Apr 16, 2012 12:26 AM

    @Kingfish…..28 receptions is the precise reason he didn’t have a high draft grade. He’s in a marjorly run oriented offense. The kid averages nearly 30 yds a catch it’s not just combine numbers. Try watching some film. WHEN he gets the ball big things happen. Keyword there is when.

  28. kansacity88 says: Apr 16, 2012 2:49 AM

    @ outerspace23

    Well, ACTUALLY, I follow college football the most so YES I did hear of him! I have been keeping an eye on WRs coming out of GT since Joe Hamilton was throwing to Dez White! Just BECAUSE they’ve had WRs that always seem to have top end speed! (like Dez without the hands) Again, I’m not trying to be an ass, I just guess we agree to disagree! No big deal!

  29. kansacity88 says: Apr 16, 2012 2:51 AM

    And yes outerspace23, I think Floyd COULD IN FACT GO before Blackmon!

  30. truthserum4u says: Apr 16, 2012 3:55 AM

    The word on Hill before the combine was he had some great catches and some horrible drops and he is extremely limited with the wr tree route.

    Hill, Poe, Gilmore & J Robinson have all made huge jumps up boards based on combine/pro day numbers and not on game tape. Happens every year and it is risky; although all have the talent to succeed

  31. kingfish4242 says: Apr 16, 2012 8:24 AM

    truthserum4u says:
    Apr 16, 2012 3:55 AM
    The word on Hill before the combine was he had some great catches and some horrible drops and he is extremely limited with the wr tree route.

    Hill, Poe, Gilmore & J Robinson have all made huge jumps up boards based on combine/pro day numbers and not on game tape. Happens every year and it is risky; although all have the talent to succeed.

    ————————————————–

    Exactly and great points. You also said it better than I did. The reason I am always suspicious of players that put up great combine numbers is traced back to Mike Mamula. Before the combine he was viewed as a tweener type who could help a team generate a pass rush on obvious passing downs. He was also viewed as being to light in the seat to be a 3 down DE. He went to the combine and blew everyone away with measurables and became the 7th overall pick.

    When Jim Haslett was coaching the Saints,he was just as guilty as the Eagles falling in love with Mamulas numbers. His draft strategy was based more on 40 times than what the player did on the field in college. His catchphrase was “we’ll coach them up”. That usually doesn’t happen though. If a player hasn’t established himself as a star on the field in college,coaching in the NFL isn’t going to help much.

  32. truthserum4u says: Apr 17, 2012 3:16 AM

    kingfish –

    I too have gotten the thumbs down when making the Mamula Factor reference with these players jumping up boards without the game tape proving it out (People misunderstand and think we’re saying these players aren’t good) Even Mayock seems to be caught up in it this draft. Unusual for him since he is such a tape guy.

  33. givemeglenn says: Apr 17, 2012 1:42 PM

    Stephen Hill started working with former NFL All-Pro Wide Receiver Terrence Mathis as soon as he declared for the draft so he could start working on his pro route trees and all of the the NFL Scouts and GM’s, and even the other “experts, like Mr. Mayhew of the NFL network, have said that Stephen has shown that he has shown that he can learned them, he ran the routes crisply, and he caught all of the passes out of them.

    All of the reports have said this has told everyone that Stephen is willing to work hard to learn, is able to do so quickly, and is successful in translating the knowledge to the field. He has also proven to be a team player in that Stephen was willing to work hard in a run-oriented offense, and perfected his trade blocking for his teammates without complaining.

    Couple that with Stephen’s natural physical abilities, then I think it’s safe to say that someone is going to get a really good player who will make an impact sooner than later.

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