Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State
(percentile rank among all RBs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.40 seconds (93rd)
Vertical: 40.0" (93rd)
Broad: 130” (96th)
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Hill suffered a minor hamstring injury on his second attempt in the 40, which forced him to sit out agility drills. He also passed on doing drills at OSU's pro day.
A prized high school prospect, Hill immediately saw the field for Mike Gundy’s Cowboys.
Hill led all freshman nationwide in rushing en route to 206-1,142-6. He played ahead of current Seahawk Chris Carson, who missed 4 games but handled only 82 carries.
Hill peaked in 2017 while acting as OSU’s workhorse. He tallied 16 total TDs — at sub-200 pounds — and saw his receiving usage spike. No other RB topped 8 catches.
Hill was fine in 2018, busting off a career-long 93-yard run, setting a personal best with 5.9 YPC and avoiding a single fumble. He suffered a late-season rib injury though, which was re-aggravated the following week. Hill then missed OSU’s final 2 games — plus the Liberty Bowl — to prep for the NFL.
Even when healthy, Hill lost work to stud freshman Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard saw just 34 fewer carries than Hill while edging him in YPC (6.0), catches (22), receiving yards (229) and receiving TDs (2).
Hubbard very well could become a future fantasy contributor. So Hill losing work to a 19-year-old shouldn’t be considered a major knock.
Hill eliminated any athletic concerns at the Combine by excelling at the vertical jump, the broad jump and the 40-yard dash. While we don't have numbers for the agility drills, Hill's tape says that's a clear strength.
Games watched: Boise St., Baylor, Kansas, Kansas St., Texas Tech, Iowa St. (2017)
Hill had the benefit of running through a lot of open lanes. That's a perk of playing in the Big12. There's at least some traffic around him in this first clip, but he shows quick feet and a clear burst through the hole.
Here's another look at Hill hitting a hole quickly and getting into the open field. You'll see the ball jarred loose at the end... but his knee was down.
Once again, we see Hill's quick feet. This time, though, he's tripped up by the pursuing DB. It's a tackle you like to see him dodge in the open field. Overall, tackle-breaking is going to be a question mark for a back tipping the scales around 200 pounds. Pro Football Focus ranks him 43rd in this class in Elusive Rating -- 47th in % of runs not tackled on 1st contact.
Hill didn’t do much as a receiver in 2016 or 2018. So let’s look back to 2017 to see his ability in the passing game.
He caught 6 balls against Iowa St., including the screen below that shows speed and power. Overall, I didn't really see him tested as a pass catcher or route runner. And he's quite shaky in pass protection -- at least per PFF. They ranked him 56th in this draft class in pass blocking efficiency.
Hill will appeal to NFL teams for a variety of reasons: production, explosiveness, receiving potential and more. He’s a slasher with the athleticism to turn ordinary runs into chunk gains.
Unfortunately, he faces the same shortcoming many backs in this class do — size. Even if Hill bulks up to ~205, he still projects as a complimentary back. He’ll also have to prove himself in pass protection, an area of weakness in 2018.
Given the thin RB class overall, Hill could still come off the board on day 2 for a team looking for a ground game jolt. If he lands in a solid situation, I think Hill maxes out as an efficiency-based RB2.