Stephen Hill is of Little Value to Panthers

Stephen Hill, the New York Jets castoff WR, was signed to the Carolina Panthers practice squad, as I thought they might if they could get their hands on him, and here's why:

Firstly, what everyone agrees on: He's a freakish athlete. He's not all that much different from Megatron at 6'4" and with 4.36 speed. He also has a label of not having good hands.

Ricky Proehl, the Panthers' Wide Receivers Coach, is one of the best in the business. More often than not, it's a matter of concentration and discipline. Some of that can be coached.

Secondly, Hill has a legitimate complaint about his time in New York. Let's face it, he had Mark Sanchez and a rookie Geno Smith. Hardly fear-inducing field generals. He came out of college as that freakishly athletic, raw WR from a very heavy run-oriented offense so he was going to take time to develop in the first place.

I think he never reached his potential largely due to circumstances. Rex Ryan runs the NFL version of the Wishbone almost - he just loves the "ground and pound" style of offense. That, combined with QB woes combined with lack of production resulted in his ouster.

Some people tried to say we don't have anywhere to keep him, saying he wasn't eligible for the practice squad, were just plain not the football savants they think they are.

In their defense, the practice squad rules got an overhaul this past offseason. For example, you get some extra guy - but only if he's a foreigner. There are a lot of others but if you read them, it's almost like listening to Captain Kirk describe how to play "Fizzbin."

Anyway, the best part of all of this is that Hill comes extremely cheap. As I had mentioned in my argument in favor of at least taking a look at him was the salary he'd command from the practice squad. $5000 a week.

Actually, it's like $6,333 or some oddball number like that but the point is that Hill still makes pretty good money (for you and me) so his family won't starve while the same amount won't exactly blow the top off of our own salary cap.

That being said, he's going to first have to start to learn a whole new offense mere days away from Opening Day. He's STILL raw and likely has low confidence after these past few days not to mention his play on the field.

Add in the likely high number of adjustments Proehl will want to make to Hill's mechanics, and what we have is a cheap (salary-wise) 6th-string receiver who won't contribute a lick to the Panthers for the near future.

At most, he might be tried as a kick returner but otherwise won't be seeing the field. Certainly not as a WR - unless someone gets injured. I don't like thinking about that, but it would take a few injuries to actually put Hill on the field.

I think the best-case scenario is the kid gets off on a good footing with his coaches and embraces the fresh start he's been given. I can say he really wasn't happy in New York, and sometimes a change in venue can really help. He did go to college at Georgia Tech, so perhaps Charlotte is the place for him.

I sure hope so, but let's not get too thrilled just yet at the prospects. Because of the circumstances, I think the best-case scenario for him would be to learn the system, flash some ability once in a while, get the coaches intrigued, show progress - LOTS of progress - with his fundamentals and hope to get a fair shot in training camp next year.

It'll be one less rent-a-receiver Dave Gettleman has to find.

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