This piece is part of a project where Jason and Caleb analyze the top eight Ducks prospects for the 2015 NFL Draft. The prospects will be listed in the reverse order in which they’re projected to be drafted. Enjoy.
No. 6: Troy Hill
Height: 5′ 11″
Overview: Troy Hill is an absolute work horse, and has been since his arrival at school in 2010. Since coming to Eugene, Hill has both competed and brought a great attitude to the Ducks’ locker room. This past season, Hill was tested frequently due a massive increase in playing time, but made his presence felt in every game. When Ifo Ekpre-Olomu went down in practice leading up to the Rose Bowl against Florida State, Hill was forced to step up and become a leader. In the Rose Bowl game, Hill came up with eight tackles, en route to a complete blowout of the Seminoles.
This past season, Hill contributed with 70 tackles, an incredible number for an undersized defensive back. To have only one interception this past season was disappointing, but he showed some incredible ball skills when defending some of the best wide receiver in the country. Hill performed well at the NFL Combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds, jumping 32.5 inches on the vertical test, and speeding through the 20-yard cone drill in 4.21 seconds. In a past interview with Andrew Greif on OregonLive.com, Erick Dargan said the following about Hill: “He is truly one of the top corners in the nation. He deserves everything he gets. It was awesome getting to watch Hill play for the Ducks, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
Strengths: Hill is an incredibly athletic guy. Because he is undersized, Hill was forced to develop a studious approach to the game. He studies opposing quarterbacks so that he knows exactly what they are going to do on game day. He is very quick off the ball, with his backpedaling skills allowing him to get position on almost any receiver. While he had only one interception last season, he showed his ability to knock down balls that were seemingly right on target. Hill finished third in the nation with 19 passes defended, ultimately showing that talent and a strong off-the-field approach can overcome any perceived size deficiencies.
Weaknesses: Hill’s biggest knock is his size. In 2013, the average of the NFL’s top 10 wide receivers was 6’2″, 220 pounds. Thus, Hill would give up a lot of size on anyone he is defending. Being undersized scares a lot of scouts, but our hope at FishDuck.com is that they overlook the specific numbers, and focus more on heart and will to succeed.
Jason Selby: “I really do like Troy Hill. The heart and desire that he showed when Ifo went down is something that I, as a Ducks fan, really enjoy seeing. He has had some past issues, but those shouldn’t be taken into too much consideration because he has shown some some signs of maturation since. He is a very athletic dude, and I do believe this will help make up for the lack of size at the next level. Even if Hill doesn’t play much at cornerback, he is the perfect special teams player. I am excited to see what Hill can bring to whatever team is lucky enough to draft him.”
Caleb Couturie: “Troy Hill was like the little brother of the Oregon secondary this past fall. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu received the majority of the attention due to his top-tier skill, and all remaining attention was directed to Erick Dargan in every defensive statistic plausible. But so what? Hill worked his butt off against some of the nation’s top receiving threats, and is deserving of his shot at the pros. Hill is especially strong as an athlete, and he uses his elite athleticism to recover from any missed judgements in the coverage. He also excels at stopping the run. Where he will be docked the most is when scouts look into size, especially with the ever increasing height of NFL receivers. Hill will likely be an adequate corner who will fit best in a zone scheme.
Projection: Fifth-Sixth Round
Top Photo by John Giustina
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