Jordan Hill was a player I really liked a ton early in the process, but drifted away from once I noticed that he’s more of an “effort” DT than a physically imposing one.
Back in January I liked him more than most and for a brief time I thought he deserved to be in the conversation with the draft’s top defensive tackles (Floyd, Sly Williams, Short, etc). In fact, when I wrote my DT article back in late February I included Jordan Hill in my analysis of the top DTs even though most sites had him listed as a late rounder.
I eventually cooled on Hill and stopped talking about him once I realized that he’s essentially a poor man’s Sharrif Floyd, and I was NOT a fan of Floyd’s, essentially considering him the Aaron Curry of defensive tackles. (Or perhaps a more accurate comparison would be him as a Floyd/Short hybrid: He has Sharrif Floyd’s two-gapping ability and lack of pass rush combined with Kawann Short’s quickness and gap slipperiness but also Short’s poor run anchor and lack of strength).
Here is what I wrote about Hill two months ago:
Hill isn’t very big nor does he anchor well, but he is probably good enough against drive blocks to be a non-specialist defensive tackle. He partially makes up for this by being consistently very fast off the snap, and keeps a good pad level.
Hill’s uses his arms a lot like a 3-4 defensive end would, excelling at disengaging via extension, not unlike Greg Scruggs but with shorter, weaker arms. He has excellent backfield vision and tracks the ball well. If I had to highlight Hill for being the best at anything out of this group, I think he might have the best short area quickness. He can cover two yards side to side very fast, and despite being weak to interior drive blocks he’s actually an asset against slower developing stretch runs because he can disengage and cover short areas of grass very quickly. Not only is he very quick, but he’s exceptionally instinctive and knows where to move to keep a runner in front of him while keeping his shoulders square.
Unfortunately, Hill can’t seem to use his shed ability to actually swim past defenders, which I theorize is from a lack of functional upper body strength. If he had it, I think he’d be using it. He also lacks lower body strength and is impotent as a bull rusher.
Hill is a bit like Kawann-Short-lite as a 3-tech. He can sometimes slip through exploitable mistakes but he doesn’t force guards back. He could be a serviceable 3-tech, but not a star. I like him more as a 3-4 defensive end, where he can use his quickness around the edge more and will get more mileage out of his talent for two-gapping and reading the football. Then again, Hill stands just 6’1″ and doesn’t appear to have the longest arms, so he’d be a bit of a gamble in such a role. Those factors might explain why he’s expected to be drafted in the mid to late rounds despite having some talent.
Bottom line, I think Hill is a high floor, low ceilling option at defensive tackle that might make a nice option for the Red Bryant role in the future while manning either defensive tackle spot in the short and intermediate term (1-tech in emergencies). He’s good for a few nifty plays a game in the backfield, but he’s not a dominant force. In terms of upside, there were many other DTs who are better that Seattle passed on for Hill. In fairness, Stefan Charles may have the highest upside of them all and he could last into the late rounds, and it’s not inconceivable that Seattle could draft a second defensive lineman with a late pick.
I don’t think John Schneider is immune to reach picks. I don’t think Irvin was a reach, and I don’t think Carpenter was a reach and I absolutely didn’t think that Wagner was a reach. That said, I felt EJ Wilson was a big reach in 2010 as was Kris Durham in 2011. I wasn’t wild on the value of the Jaye Howard pick either. Though I like Hill, I think I’d feel safe calling this pick a reach. I feel pretty good about Hill reaching the 5th or 6th round, and even if he didn’t, there were better options available when Seattle picked him.
Not a horrible pick, but I think in four years time every Seahawks fan (if not every NFL fan) will know Christine Michael’s name, but only the dedicated among the Seahawks faithful will know who Jordan Hill is, because I think he’s pretty likely to be an NFL average player.
Overall, I think Jordan Hill will be a John Moffitt type 3rd round pick. John Moffitt is not a star but he’s a perfectly adequate NFL starting guard in my view. The reason he’s struggled for playing time is because Seattle values upside (rightfully so), and that is an area where Moffitt lacks. I see Hill getting playing time and being a rock solid contributor, but never a star. That’s a good return for a 3rd round pick, though I felt Seattle could have done better with the options that were available at #87.