2020 NFL Draft Sleeper: K.J. Hill
With this draft class absolutely stacked with receiver talent, a player like Hill might fly under the radar. There are other pass-catchers in this years draft that might have the high-profile name that goes with their reputation, but if you didn't know, Hill is the Ohio State All-Time receptions leader.
Coming out of North Little Rock High School in Central Arkansas, Hill was a 4-star prospect with great potential as well as a U.S. Army High School All-American. Holding offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Penn State and many other top ranked schools, Hill eventually chose Ohio State University. During his time in Columbus, Hill racked up 201 receptions and helped lead OSU to great success.
Pros: K.J. Hill projects as a slot receiver in the league. His route running ability is towards the top in the draft. His ability to get open with quickness and agility is phenomenal. He always seems to be creating separation, and is a player that you can trust to get open. He is a very smart player that understands how to use leverage and great footwork during his route. He is also a willing blocker who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty to create for others. His hands are great and has had some nifty one handed grabs that have caught the eye of many people. He also played very well during the Senior Bowl and showcased his skill against some good competition. Another player that didn't necessarily have the hype around his name was Terry McLaurin. McLaurin also played at Ohio State and didn't necessarily have the most amazing game film, but showcased his ability at the Senior Bowl, just as K.J. did.
Cons: Hill doesn't have the best top speed to breakaway from defenders and leave them in the dust. Hill is known for his route-running and not his game-breaking speed. Hill isn't the greatest playmaker in tight spaces either, but he does his best work in the open field. This isn't saying that he can't make somebody miss, but he is more of a chain-mover. He lines up mainly in the slot, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to lining up on the outside in the NFL if he is asked to do so. He also may struggle against physical press coverage corners, but thats where his footwork and route running ability come into play. He doesn't have elite size, or elite speed, but he makes up for it in other parts of his game.
Comparison: Hill runs a lot of intermediate routes. His routes usually consist of being somewhere around the line-to-gain, and is a very affective chain-mover. One of the most talented players in the NFL in moving the chains is Julian Edelman. These two have a lot of similarity in their game and when it comes down to it, neither have great speed or RAC ability, but can get open at will. Hill and Edelman play like each other in a lot of ways.
Expectation: I expect K.J. Hill to fall somewhere from the 3-5 round range in the draft. There's so many high profile players in this draft that it's easy for teams to overlook a receiver that ran a 4.6 40-yard-dash. I could see K.J. playing a significant role on a team in his rookie season and becoming a great asset for a team in need of a legit slot receiver. This man can play, and you'll hear his name a lot in the coming years.