Stephen Hill had two touchdowns and 89 yards in his first career game, but it has been downhill since. Credit: Getty Images
The Jets, intimately familiar with the term “draft bust,” potentially have another embarrassing case on their hands with the underwhelming Stephen Hill.
Hill, a second-round pick in last April's NFL Draft, was always seen as a project coming from a run-heavy option offense at Georgia Tech. Even after a disappointing rookie year, Hill was expected to make big strides this year. And while he has more receptions (23) through the first 10 games this year than he did last year (22) in 11 games, he hasn't registered a catch since Oct. 27.
Wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal and Hill sat down and had, in Hill's words, a “straight-up” conversation that his snaps will be cut ahead of this week's game in Baltimore. He admits to not being where he should be in his development.
“Oh no, I'm not where I should be, you know? Everybody has things to work on but I definitely didn't expect it to be like this, this year,” Hill said. “Basically, just catching a pass every game, making sure that I'm helping out the team as much as I can just to score points. Catch balls and get yards. But other than that, just certain things haven't happened.”
Even head coach Rex Ryan has piled on Hill, a surprising move from a head coach who is always positive if not downright effusive about the talent on his roster.
“I've been disappointed, there's no doubt, because we all see the potential this young man has,” Ryan said. “He has the size, speed, he's tough enough, has the courage. Whether it was something physically, maybe he hasn't been 100 percent for whatever reason.”
He remains raw and perhaps still unaccustomed to an offense that airs the ball out far more than he saw in college. His route running is still developing and his hands are still very much in the developmental stage. His lone touchdown of this season came in Week 3 against a depleted Bills secondary. There is very little in his game that has improved from a rocky rookie season.
According to Hill, nothing physically is ailing him.
“Hey, look, I have nothing to feel about it. That's [the] big man's decision,” Hill said, referring to his coach. “I just have to do what I have to do every day — come out here and play hard.”