Projecting Where Kylin Hill Will Be Drafted After Day 1 of 2021 NFL Draft

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIApril 30, 2021

FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2019, file photo, Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill plays against Abilene Christian in an NCAA college football game in Starkville, Miss. Mississippi State's All-Southeastern Conference running back Kylin Hill recently took to Twitter to make his strong feelings known about the Mississippi state flag, which has the Confederate battle emblem in the top left corner. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

Kylin Hill is still on the board heading into Day 2 of the 2021 NFL draft and represents a viable option for teams looking to add running back depth this season.

The 22-year-old, who opted out of his senior year with Mississippi State after three games but returned for the 2021 Senior Bowl, ran for 58 yards on 15 carries and caught 23 passes for 237 yards last season. He ended his collegiate career with 2,535 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in addition to 631 receiving yards and six scores.

It's certainly not a surprise to see Hill still up for grabs, and it's likely he will last into Saturday when Rounds 4-7 are called.

Numerous draft analysts have him ranked in the middle of the pack.

Hill is ranked as the seventh-best running back in the 2021 draft class by Bleacher Report's NFL Scouting Department, though there's a steep talent drop-off in running backs behind Najee Harris, Javonte Williams, Michael Carter and Travis Etienne this year. 

Bleacher Report ranks Hill as the No. 140 prospect overall.  

His outlook is more dismal in the NFL.com rankings. He's slotted as the No. 15 prospect at the position, and the league's rankings project him as a back-up or special teams player in the pros. Analyst Lance Zierlein noted his "below par" vision and "delays in processing" but praised his speed and physicality. 

Pro Football Network's Tony Pauline puts Hill on the cusp of the fourth and fifth rounds by ranking him as the No. 151 prospect and 11th-best running back. 

Several teams could benefit from ground power based on 2020. There were six teams that averaged below 100 rushing yards per game: the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

However, some of those teams won't necessarily be looking to upgrade at the position in 2021. The Jags have James Robinson, who posted more than 1,000 yards after going undrafted, and the Buccaneers managed just fine with Ronald Jones Jr.'s 978-yard campaign en route to the Super Bowl. Mike Davis and Ito Smith are holding it down again in Atlanta. 

Provided Deshaun Watson is the quarterback in 2021, the Texans could get away without prioritizing a running back in the later rounds, given that he rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns while leading the league in passing.

But they did boost the position in free agency, adding former Bronco Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram Jr. If they want to put depth behind them, they can take Hill with their early fifth-round pick (No. 147 overall, third in the round). 

The Steelers could do with upgraded depth behind Benny Snell Jr., where there were slim pickings in 2020. Losing James Conner to the Arizona Cardinals was another blow to their run game. But they would have to act early in the late rounds to land Hill, since they hold the No. 140 overall pick (35th in the fourth round) and don't go again until the sixth round. 

Luckily, they added Alabama running back Najee Harris at No. 24 to provide some running back depth early. 

In Detroit, the priority is likely building up the offense around a pass-happy Jared Goff. But if they want to add depth behind De'Andre Swift—provided Adrian Peterson moves on in free agency—Hill figures to be the answer at No. 153 (the ninth pick in the fifth round).

Things could all change depending on how things shake out on Friday, when Rounds 2-3 are selected.