In the Shadow of Giants: Stephen Hill and the Monster Wideouts from Georgia Tech
Calvin Johnson is the greatest. 2012 saw the Georgia Tech alum set the NFL single season record for receiving yards, solidifying himself as the best receiver in the game.
Demaryius Thomas—another Yellow Jacket—is very good. After hauling in just 55 passes in his first two seasons, Thomas put up huge numbers in his first year teamed with Peyton Manning, grabbing 94 passes—1434 yards—10 touchdowns, and nabbing top 5 fantasy wide receiver status.
Then there is Stephen Hill, the latest in the line of Georgia Tech wide receivers to come to the NFL. Hill made an instant impact, collecting five receptions and two touchdowns in his first career game. It was downhill from there, as he would catch only 16 balls and one touchdown the rest of the year.
Considering that I took Hill with the sixth pick in my 2012 dynasty draft, I’m hoping for big things. But let’s examine if he is destined to be the next great wide out from the Georgia Tech pipeline, or is he another big, tall, fast guy who will fizzle out.
Consider their targets in the Georgia Tech years:
Let us remember that Calvin played in Atlanta before Paul Johnson arrived and had a much healthier passing environment. That’s not good or bad, it’s just a thing. What’s good or bad, is what these guys do with their targets. Consider their market share of receiving yards:
And market share of touchdowns:
All three players trended upward over their college careers. It’s a bit startling to see that Thomas posted the two most dominant seasons in both yards and TDs. But perhaps the most startling thing is what they did on their red zone targets:
In three years at Georgia Tech, Stephen Hill caught NO touchdowns on plays that originated in the red zone. The lengths of his receiving touchdowns are, chronologically, as follows: 32, 40, 26, 79, 82, 77, 71, 59, and 31. For a big, freakish specimen who is probably thought of as a red zone threat, he never…um…demonstrated red zone ability. Surprisingly, Demaryius wasn’t much better.
It is encouraging that Hill caught two red-zone touchdowns in his rookie season. As the Jets’ offense goes back to the drawing board this offseason, some expect Stephen Hill to emerge from the re-imagined offense as the #1 guy. While some are skeptical of Hill’s future, I have a HOLD grade on Hill in dynasty formats, while others like Even if he is a lesser version of Calvin or Demaryius, that’s still WR-1 upside.
(Want to conduct your own wide receiver comparisons? Try the Wide Receiver comparison app)