I’ve already climbed onto the soapbox this morning (I could have used a couple of them when interviewing Matt Kalil on Thursday night) regarding the habit of comparing completely unproven players to men who have found a way to stand out in the NFL. Since I’ve complained about comparisons made by Rams receivers coach Ray Sherman between receiver Brian Quick and Terrell Owens, I now in the interests of equal time must complain about comparisons made by the Jets between their newest wideout and another well-established NFL commodity.
According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Jets V.P. of college scouting Joey Clinkscales compared Stephen Hill to Calvin Johnson. Sort of.
“He’s unique,” Clinkscales said. “He’s a 6-4 kid that’s 215 [pounds] and runs a 4.32. He’s a unique athlete, he really is. I mean . . . Calvin Johnson maybe. I’m not going to put that label on him but from a height, weight, speed [standpoint] . . . . He’s just a unique athlete.”
It’s obvious to compare Hill to Johnson at a superficial level, given that both players attended Georgia Tech, both players are tall, both players are fast, and both players play receiver.
But Hill had 49 catches in three years. Johnson, in contrast, had 48. As a freshman.
Then, Johnson caught 54 as a sophomore and 76 as a junior, capping his career with a dominant performance against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, which became disrupted only after the Mountaineers figured out how to get to the quarterback before he could throw the ball in Johnson’s general vicinity.
Of course, Hill possibly could have done the same thing, if the Yellow Jackets had dialed him up more often. But if he truly has the same skills as Johnson, wouldn’t they have found a way to get the ball in his hands?
Hill could, in theory, end up being as good or better than Johnson in the NFL. We just don’t know — and we won’t know — until Hill puts on his Jets helmet and faces NFL-caliber competition.
The good news for Jets fans is that Hill at least is accustomed to playing in a run-based offense, which is what the Jets aspire to be. So while Santonio Holmes may be complaining (again) about not getting the ball, Hill based on his college days should be happy to average one catch or so per game.