Any time there is a discussion regarding the Cleveland Browns, Peyton Hillis will become a major part of that discussion.
Since the trade with the Denver Broncos, sending Brady Quinn to Denver in exchange for Hillis and a couple draft picks, Hillis has become a fan favorite, somewhat of a rock star in Cleveland. His addition to the Browns has added a spark to a rather dull offense, and given fans a reason to believe that the Browns can be competitive with anyone.
Cleveland fans are driven by rough, hard hitting "War In The Trenches" football, and Hillis provides this at a grand scale.
Hillis is one of the most physical running backs in the NFL. He is a powerful running back that delivers punishing blows to anyone trying to tackle him. His ability to drag numerous defenders, that extra yard, is exciting to watch. The ability of Hillis to be used in passing plays adds to this excitement.
Aside from Hillis' hard hitting, and somewhat violent style of running, his ability to leap over defenders is truly fun to watch.
Due to the impact Hillis is having on the production of the Browns offense, and the reputation he is getting for being a bruising, physical running back, he is often compared to others showing the same qualities.
Hillis is often compared to Larry Csonka, Hall of Fame Fullback, who played for both the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants. Those who had the pleasure of watching Csonka are aware of his physical style of running. During his career, Csonka was considered one of the toughest players in the NFL.
Comparing Hillis to Csonka is definitely a compliment to Hillis, as Csonka was a five time Pro Bowl selection, and member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that went undefeated.
Hillis has also been compared to John Riggins, who played for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins. Riggins, a Hall of Fame running back, was the true definition of a workhorse, who specialized in tough yardage situations. Like Hillis, Riggins was used on passing plays, catching 250 passes for 2,090 yards and 12 touchdowns during his career.
Hillis' running style has also been compared to the running style of Marshall Faulk. Faulk was known for his speed, power, and being difficult to tackle. Hillis and Faulk have one common trait, if you get in their way, you are in for a violent collision. I do believe that Faulk showed a greater speed than Hillis'.
It is too early in Hillis' career to claim that he will be the caliber of Csonka or Riggins, however Hillis' performance will be judged according to those that came before him. He will be compared to running backs both past, and present.
There have been several running backs who share Hillis' physical, often violent style of running. It is impossible to know if Hillis will live up to the reputation of any of the great running backs, past or present. The comparisons will continue throughout Hillis' career, and this will be the bar he is measured by.
Who does Hillis remind you of?
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