newstadium

2007 possibly repeating itself – Part II Dan Leberfeld

The New York Jets might have hit the jackpot in rounds one and two, just like they did in 2007.

In defensive end Quinton Coples and wide receiver Stephen Hill, the Jets might have landed two major difference makers.

Just like their first round pick Coples, their second round pick, Hill, has amazing triangle numbers.

6-4, 215-pound receivers with 4.3 speed are rare.

And just like Coples, Hill could easily have gone much higher.

He slipped because he only had 48 catches in college, and there were questions about his maturity. He came out of school early.

And he needs work on his route-running because of the nature of the run-oriented offense played at Georgia Tech.

But keep one thing in mind about this route-running issue, which is brought up quite a bit.

As reported in Jets Confidential Magazine, for several months leading up to the draft, Hill worked with former Jets wide receiver Terrance Mathis.(1990 sixth round pick) on his route-running. Mathis, now the offensive coordinator at Savannah State, was a superb route-runner during his 13-year NFL career.

When you combine this work, with the time he spent with Jets wide receiver’s coach Sanjay Lal after being picked by the Jets, he’s moving up the growth curve, slowly by surely.

Hill has so much natural ability, that with so more seasoning, he has the potential to take over at the Jets #1 receiver in a year or two, when perhaps Santonio Holmes moves on.

Aside from his size-speed ratio, what makes this guy so dangerous is his leaping ability. He has a 39 1⁄2-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot, 1-inch broad jump. While in high school, he set the state long jump record in Georgia (25 feet, 8 3⁄4 inches).

With his leading ability and long arms, he’s going to win a lot of jump balls, which will be a big help to Mark Sanchez, who sometimes struggles with his accuracy. With Hill, you can throw it to an area, and he can go up an get it.

Think about it, if a receiver is 6-4, and he also is a world class leaper and has long arms, there are going to be many throws that defensive backs will have no chance against him.

Look, I’m not putting him in Canton just yet. There is no question he has a ton of work to do, and pulling a hamstring in the spring, and having to miss some practices, was bad for him. He needs every rep he can get.

And that fact that he’s so raw is a big reason he slipped to the second round. Also, half of his catches last year, came against Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee and Duke, so he needs to show he can do it against top-shelf corners.

But where the Jets picked him, he could turn out to be a major steal.

We will see in a couple of years, but after a few down years, it looks like Mike Tannenbaum might have come up with another dynamic duo in Rounds One and Two.

(Premium will return by 9:30 pm on Thursday night with a look at story on Kenrick Ellis.)