KJ Hill Will Be An Excellent Slot Receiver (2020 NFL Draft)
K.J. Hill, Ohio State
Weight: 196 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.6 seconds
Vertical Jump: 32.5 inches
Broad Jump: 114 inches
3-Cone Drill: NA
NFL teams use a wide variety of players to fill out their WR rooms. There are the players who are used in the red zone and who can go up and play “above the rim”, there are the quick and shifty players who create separation easily downfield, and then there are the players who can fill out the slot role and help move the chains consistently.
The slot WR role has grown in popularity in recent history due to more and more teams running 3-WR sets the majority of the time. These players aren’t necessarily always the fastest or strongest on the field, but they have a great understanding of how to leverage routes and create separation in tight windows. One of those players is K.J. Hill out of Ohio State.
Hill isn’t the fastest player on the field, but he’s an excellent route-runner and knows how to win in contested situations. He projects as a perfect slot WR in the NFL and these players can have immense value for fantasy football.
What exactly does Hill bring to the table and where should we be valuing him in Dynasty leagues?
Those questions are answered here in my detailed scouting report on K.J. Hill (ratings out of five stars):
Hill brings decent size to the slot WR role, but he may not have the necessary speed and strength to consistently play on the outside. Hill primarily lined up in the slot at Ohio State and this is where he best projects in the NFL. It’s unlikely to see him come onto the field in 2-WR sets, which will mean that he’ll need to land in a spot that uses 11 personnel consistently to have fantasy football relevancy.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) August 15, 2019
Route Running/Ability to Separate
This is where Hill shines. While he doesn’t necessarily create consistent separation at all levels of the field, he’s a terrific route-runner and possesses the ability to sink in and out of his routes extremely well. He won’t win with crazy explosiveness or twitch, like KJ Hamler in this same draft class, but he wins with great understanding of how to exploit leverage and a great understanding of how to move in space.
— Receiver School (@ReceiverSchool) January 22, 2020
Hill ran a 4.6 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which validated what I saw on tape. He’s not necessarily a top-tier athlete and won’t consistently pull away from defenders in the NFL, but he makes up for it in route-running savvy and sure hands.
First TD pass of the day for Justin Fields 🔥
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 21, 2019
Hill has some of the most reliable hands in this class. He has the ability to make some ridiculous one-handed catches, as shown in the video below, but he’s best at making tough catches in tight windows. He has a knack for holding onto the ball through contact and securing the catch, which will allow him to excel out of the slot at the next level.
My goodness, KJ Hill. Made this look effortless. pic.twitter.com/3OxpNS6jh7
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 24, 2020
While Hill wasn’t used this way frequently at Ohio State, he showed a proficiency in tracking the ball deep downfield whenever he was called upon. He showed a high proficiency in being able to track and locate the ball and also has great awareness of where the sideline is at all times. On several occasions, he was up against the sideline and was able to toe-tap right before going out of bounds.
K.J. Hill is a Penn State killa! Buckeyes now up 21-0. pic.twitter.com/wMmftaIg1D
— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) November 23, 2019
After the Catch
Due to his lack of top-tier athleticism, Hill’s most likely not going to be a player that racks up ridiculous after the catch numbers like an A.J. Brown. Hill will excel in moving the chains for an offense, and may be able to break away the occasional big play, but this will not be his calling card at the NFL level.
Dwayne Haskins and K.J. Hill finish off the Gophers—Ohio State pulls away for a 30–14 win in Columbus.
— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) October 13, 2018
Projected Draft Spot
Right now, Hill’s projected as a 4th round NFL draft pick or later. Due to his mediocre Combine and his role projection at the NFL level, he’s unlikely to be drafted before Day 3. However, this doesn’t mean that his fantasy stock is dead if he goes that late. He’ll most likely walk into a team that has a need at the slot WR position and be able to get onto the field week one. Hill’s best fit would be in a timing-based offense and he’ll most likely be peppered with targets. He won’t ever be a fantasy football superstar, but he can certainly provide value in PPR leagues. Without knowing landing spot currently, I’m comfortable drafting Hill in the 3rd round of Dynasty rookie drafts and there’s a strong possibility that he moves up higher than that once we know his landing spot.
When looking at Hill’s Combine numbers and the role that he’ll play in the NFL, Hunter Renfrow is the name that keeps coming to mind. Renfrow ran a near-identical 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and has shown how valuable he can be for fantasy football in that slot role in Gruden’s offense. While Hill has a bit more size on him than Renfrow, they’re both smart route-runners and rarely drop a pass. Hill could walk right in and see the type of production that Renfrow did in 2019, which was actually better than a lot of us anticipated.
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