Kicking the tires

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What does this guy bring to the table? Why even bring him in at this point? Let’s take a closer look at this prospect . . .

Former Arizona wide receiver Austin Hill signed as an undrafted free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 2015 right after the selection meetings concluded,

However, he never paid it to the practice field in Seattle.

He failed his physical.

The state of his surgical knee bothered the Seahawks’ doctors.

Hill blew out his knee in Arizona’s 2013 Spring Game and missed that season.

Some feel he hasn’t been the same since.

But he was so good before the injury, he has created a great deal of intrigue in the Jets’ personnel meetings.

So after the Seahawks released him, the Jets invited him to their rookie minicamp for a tryout, but he wasn’t signed.

However, shortly thereafter, the Oakland Raiders signed him. He was released after two weeks.

Now he’s back with the Jets.

If Hill didn’t hurt his knee in the spring of 2013, and continued on the path he was blazing at Arizona, he likely would have been a high draft pick.

In 2012, he ranked second in receiving yards in the Pac-12 conference and was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the top receiver in college football. In 13 games that season, he had 81 receptions for 1364 yards and 11 touchdowns. That’s a pretty darn good college season.

And after missing the entire 2013 season, it’s not like he was terrible in 2014, finishing with 49 catches and four touchdowns.

Also, he did run a 4.57 forty at Arizona’s Pro Day in the spring. That isn’t a bad time for a 6-2, 214-pound receiver.

And remember, it’s usually the year after your return from a torn ACL, that you usually get back to your old self.

But you have to wonder what troubled the Seahawks’ doctorc about Hill’s knee at their rookie mini-camp.

Now it should be pointed out that different team doctors have different world views. A classic example of that was the case of offensive tackle Anthony Munoz. The New York Jets doctors told the team to stay away due to the condition of his knee. He was picked by the Cincinnati Bengals and went on to have a Hall-of-Fame career.

Former Buffalo Bills great Thurman Thomas had a knee issue coming out of Oklahoma State. It made him slip out of the first round of the 1988 draft. The Bills picked him in the second round. He’s also in the Hall-of-Fame.

I’m not saying Hill is going to the Hall-of-Fame. We don’t even know if he will make the first cut. The point is different strokes for different folks when it comes to various team doctors on how they look at certain injuries.

When he’s healthy, Hill is a strong, physical receiver with good size, who does a nice job of going up and getting the football.

If he can get back to his 2012 form, this guy has a future in the NFL.

He’s definitely worth taking a flyer on.

July 28, 2015

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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