There was a lot to look forward to in 2012 when the New York Jets drafted Stephen Hill in the second round. Two years later, he may possibly be fighting for his job.
After Hill had a great combine and an impressive first career game, it looked like the Jets might have struck gold with the 6'4", 215 pound wide receiver. Since that first game where had five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills, Hill has been very quiet and almost seemingly irrelevant. His rookie year was not only plagued with a lack of production, but injuries as well which caused him to miss five games that season.
2013 was supposed to be a better year for Hill, but that did not exactly pan out as expected. Once again, he had one good game and practically disappeared. Week three was his best performance of the campaign, which also came against the Bills, where he caught three passes for 108 yards and scored on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Geno Smith. From reports and conversations with the coaching staff, Hill is working his tail off and looking better than ever. Part of this could be that he finally in a good rhythm, and part of it could be that he realizes he could be out of a job.
The additions that the Jets made in the offseason help show that Hill has strong competition and has to fight for his NFL life to stay on the team. As Jets radio announcer Bob Wischusen pointed out during the broadcast of the Green and White Scrimmage, the signings of Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford and the drafting of Jalen Saunders, Shaquille Evans, and Quincy Enunwa has made Hill realize that many plenty of players have been brought in to do his job. If that is not motivation, especially after being a second-round draft pick who has been disappointing so far, then nothing will push him to go harder.
Coming to the NFL from Georgia Tech, Hill arrived with hope from Jets fans of him being on the same level of talent as fellow Georgia Tech alumni Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Obviously, those are very tough acts to follow. Even though it is difficult to match such talent, Hill absolutely has to have an impressive preseason and produce respectable numbers in 2014. Hill needs to step up and be a playmaker, especially with the possibility of Decker receiving extra attention from defensive backs.
Jets fans have been waiting for Hill to blossom into a reliable receiver that can help the team win. This could possibly be his last chance. It seems that the competition has helped him become a better player according to the team, but now he has to show it on the field.
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Tags: Buffalo Bills, Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Football, Geno Smith, Jacoby Ford, Jalen Saunders, New York, New York Jets, NFL, Quincy Enunwa, Stephen Hill