The New York Jets have placed wide receiver Stephen Hill on injured reserve with a knee injury, ending what has ultimately been a disappointing second season in the NFL for the team's second round choice in the 2012 NFL Draft. The move comes a few weeks after Stephen Hill lost his starting job to David Nelson. While Hill caught three more passes this season than he did in 2012, he did so with one more game and 90 yards less than he put up last season. Next season will be a critical one in his NFL career.
Stephen Hill didn't show any growth this year, his second season with the New York Jets. Viewed as a raw receiver coming out of Georgia Tech, Stephen Hill was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Jets due to his unique combination of size and speed. Lack of consistency and injuries have plagued Hill throughout his first two NFL seasons.
Stephen Hill wasn't expected to make a major impact last season as a rookie, with an expected learning curve as he transitioned from Georgia Tech's triple option attack to an NFL offense. He showed some flashes, battled a case of the drops and his rookie season was derailed by injuries. With great size and speed, it was expected that he would make a big jump in his second season after having 11 games of NFL experience under his belt.
It hasn't happened and his second NFL season has come to an end as a result of a knee injury. With Santonio Holmes and other Jets receivers battling injuries throughout the past two seasons, there have been plenty of opportunities for Stephen Hill to step up and establish himself – or at least provide something to build on.
Stephen Hill will now find himself in the same position many recent Jets draft picks have faced. He enters his third season needing to prove that he belongs on an NFL roster, much like Vernon Gholston, Joe McKnight and Vlad Ducasse before him. Vlad Ducasse is the only player in that group on a roster, but was benched this season in favor of rookie Brian Winters.
Stephen Hill caught 21 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns in 2012 as a rookie over 11 games. In 12 games this season, he caught 24 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown.
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