2012 NFL Draft: Ravens Eyeing Stephen Hill with First-Round Pick?
Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times and scout.com is reporting that the Ravens had Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill in for a visit this past week.
The Ravens have expressed interest in the 6'4", 215-pound NFL Combine standout before, and using one of their 30 allotted pre-draft visits further confirms that interest.
Hill is the consensus third- or fourth-best available receiver in this year's draft, considered by most to be a tier below Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.
He's an incredibly raw prospect, as a result of playing in Georgia Tech's triple option offense, but his upside is through the roof. This past season Hill only tallied 28 catches, which was a career high for the early entry junior. But after clocking a 4.36-second 40 at the NFL Combine and considering his natural athletic ability, he'll get looks from teams in the first round.
Hill may be most comparable to Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, another Georgia Tech product. Coming out of college, Thomas was considered raw and athletic as well. He's struggled with injury a bit since entering the league, but came on strong at the end of last season.
There's no doubt that being drafted by the Ravens would be a better situation for Hill. Not only would he have one of the most polished route runners in the league to learn from in Anquan Boldin, but he'd have a legitimate quarterback throwing him the ball. Yes, that is a knock on Tim Tebow.
Which is the most likely scenario?
The Ravens are clearly looking for another outside threat opposite Torrey Smith next season, but will Hill be available with the 29th pick? It doesn't seem very likely.
Hill has been frequently projected to the Cleveland Browns with the 22nd pick in the draft, but if he gets past them, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Ravens move up a few picks if Hill is their guy.
Ozzie Newsome has been known to wheel and deal on draft day to get extra picks or the player that the Ravens covet.
In an Wednesday interview, Newsome had this to say on trading the 29th pick. Via Garrett Downing of baltimoreravens.com:
“The trade scenario—trading up four or five spots, maybe as much as 10 spots—then, trading back as far as 10 spots; it’s already prepared for."
While the Ravens could just as easily opt to pass on Hill should he and another prospect they like be available at No. 29, their interest in the potentially prolific prospect is intriguing.
Hill could very be the big physical receiver that the Ravens have always seemed to lack, and has the potential to eventual take Joe Flacco and the offense to the next level.
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