Saturday, Stephen Hill went up for a pass in training camp only to be forced down uncomfortably from cosmic force manifesting in a torn ACL. Hill is out for the season, aligning what now seems fatalistic so some and inevitable to many.Read More
The conclusion of the rookie minicamp signals a period of frustration and excitement for many football fans. Excitement over the fact football is back, and frustration because it still seems so far away. There are several things I will keep an eye on for the next few months, and several things I want to happen. I’ll list a few things that I hope/expect will come to fruition, and will be either frustrated or excited at the eventual outcome.Read More
Coming out of 2014, the Carolina Panthers had a few easily-identifiable "problem areas" on their team that needed immediate attention: a new left tackle, a safety to replace Roman Harper, a speedy outside wideout, and depth at running back. With off-season free agency addressing many of these areas, the other 31 NFL teams would be hard-pressed to figure out whom, if anyone, Dave "Downpour Man" Gettleman has in his virtual crosshairs.Read More
“I can’t say enough about this kid,” wide-receiver coach Ricky Proehl raved about Steven Hill on Bustin Loose with Frank Garcia and Mark Yarboro. Yarbs (Yarboro) brought up Hill with the reservation most Panthers media does when addressing the enigmatic former 2nd round pick who many view as a hopeless bust.
Proehl thinks otherwise, stating “he did nothing but work his tail off….I can’t wait to get my hands on him this spring and in the offseason so as to showcase what he can do. This will be a big spring for him.”Read More
A late season, speed and movement did wonders for our offense and defense. With the addition of 4th and 5th rounders Tre Boston and Bene Benwikere to the starting lineup, the secondary gained much needed speed and playmaking ability. Philly Brown added a deep threat element to the offense in contrast to slow motion Jason Avant. To get our team up to speed (pun intended) and back to above .500 form, players such as Roman Harper and Jericho Cotchery need to be permanently supplanted in the starting lineup. Here are several players who could do just that.Read More
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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Stephen Hill was released by the New York Jets. He was a second round pick out of Georgia Tech. Never really amounted to what the Jets had hoped he could be. Now that Hill is a free agent and able to be signed by any team should the Panthers take a flyer on him? He is a physical specimen. 6"4" 215 lbs, 4.36 forty time, benched 225 lbs 14 times, 39.5 inch vertical leap, 33 3/8 inch arms, and 9 3/8 inch hands. Those are some very impressive numbers. Would it be worth the league minimum to bring him to Charlotte and let him work with the best Wide Receiver coach in the NFL (Ricky Proehl)? Someone with that size and speed would be the perfect compliment to Kelvin Benjamin. What do you think Panther Nation? Sign him or let someone else have a shot at turning his career around? Leave your thoughts or feelings about this potential addition to the Panthers receiving corps in the comments section.