The Green Bay Packers have already invested plenty in the running back position but they still lack depth behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. They should look at Kylin Hill as a potential late-round target.
Kylin Hill – Mississippi St, 5’ 10” 214 lbs
Hill entered the Bulldogs’ backfield rotation as a true freshman, appearing in every game in 2017. He missed two games in 2018 but started the other eleven. It was Hill’s 2019 season that really opened our eyes.
Hill led Mississippi St in rushing that season, netting 1,350 yards and 10 TDs. He looked great on the ground but still had questions to answer as a receiver. Mike Leach was announced as the Bulldogs’ new head coach for the 2020 season, leading to a truly odd season for Kylin Hill, even by 2020 standards.
He opened the season with an 8 catch, 158 yard, 1 TD performance against LSU. He was injured during the Bulldogs’ second game but bounced back the following week, against Kentucky, recording another 15 receptions for 79 yards. During those three games, he recorded a measly 15 carries for 58 yards, which would end up being his 2020 season total.
Hill was suspended one contest for a post-game locker room altercation that occurred after the Kentucky matchup, then chose to opt-out of the remainder of the 2020 season. Clearly, Hill and Leach didn’t see eye to eye. Hill will have to answer questions about his maturity during the interview process. And yet, Leach may have actually done Hill a huge favor
Not only did Leach save Hill a couple hundred hits but his scheme put Hill’s receiving talent on display. While most of his production came from behind the line of scrimmage, Hill cleaned up the drops that previously plagued him and showed a shiftiness in space that we hadn’t seen before.
He forced 9 missed tackles on 23 receptions and 3 more on his 15 carries. He has great field vision and stop-start ability. His most impressive trait, however, is his explosiveness – he can leap tall defenders in a single bound.
Kylin Hill’s contact balance 💪🏾
— Damian Parson 🏈 (@DP_NFL) February 15, 2021
Hill also improved as a pass-blocker, showing an ability to decipher blitzes and defeat pass-rushers one on one. He has the makings of an every-down contributor at the next level.
As a ball-carrier, Hill shows a good combination of patience and vision. He can pick the right hole, get upfield in a hurry, and has enough wiggle to pick up chunk yards between the tackles. He led all SEC backs with 23 carries of 15+ yards in 2019.
While Hill is an effective tackle breaker, he isn’t the type to square up defenders and drag them down the field. He also lacks elite long speed – just average size, speed, practical strength, athleticism combo, evidenced by his 7.3 RAS score, 14th among RBs in this class.
Hill showed some ability in the passing game in 2020 but still didn’t present much of a downfield route package.
Not to sound like an old man but Hill dances too much behind the line of scrimmage. When there is no clear hole, he bounces the ball outside instead of making his own hole and picking up what he can.
Hill has all the tools to be an every-down starter in the NFL. He provides above-average value in the passing game and can be a quality ball-carrier in zone schemes. If he had been able to put together a successful 2020 season, he would likely be looked at as a day-two selection.
Instead, he’s being considered as late as a 7th round prospect by some evaluators. I feel he has enough talent to make an impact from day one and currently rank him as my RB6. I have a late third-early fourth-round grade on Kylin Hill but he could easily drop due to his problems with the coaching staff last season.
If he’s available late into day three, the Green Bay Packers should consider drafting Hill. He would immediately win the third running back position from the unexciting trio of Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor, and Mike Weber.
With 7 day-three selections, the Green Bay Packers should have enough draft capital to address the running back position. If Kylin Hill drops, he should be their target.