There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for junior running back Brian Hill, Wyoming Cowboys.
RB-Brian Hill, Wyoming 6’1” 219 lbs.
This year’s running back class has a lot of intriguing players, and one of those is former Cowboy Brian Hill. Despite being held out of the first quarter in his bowl game against BYU, he managed to have a productive day (112 total yards and a touchdown). I wanted to see more. Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the five games I reviewed of the junior playmaker: 2016 contests versus BYU, New Mexico, UNLV, Nebraska, and San Diego State. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: The problem with most backs that are six feet plus is that they tend to run high and Hill is no exception to that, this allows would-be tacklers into his body more quickly and makes him easier to bring down. The back cannot create on his own; he must have a crease created for him to exploit. When Hill runs with the ball, his other arm kind of flops around. It would be better used to stiff-arm or brace against defenders than look like he was bull riding. I didn’t see much of a second gear in open spaces. He was rarely used in the passing game and seldom sold the route he was running for the quarterback. This lets opposing defensive coordinators ignore that side of his game with only eight receptions last season. His pass protection leaves a lot to be desired as the runner either drops his head or gets off balance when attempting to block incoming blitzers.
Pros: Hill is a gritty, fast-twitched runner that gets skinny in the hole. He does a good job working through the trash at the line of scrimmage with his quick feet. The back uses spins and hurdles, finds the cutback lane, and wiggles away from the defenders. The former Cowboy is an inside to outside runner who reads the gridiron well while following his blockers and always keeps his legs churning. Hill plays with short-burst quickness along with jump cuts that can get him away from the defense and find the end zone on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at highlight reel for Mr. Hill.
Overall impressions: While I like Hill’s athleticism, I’m not sure what role he will receive at the next level. He is a good two down back that doesn’t catch or block particularly well. This gives defenses a clue as to what plays an offense can call due to personnel. I see Hill as more of a kick returner to start, but he reminds me a lot of former Colt and Patriots back, Donald Brown, who was good, but not great. The former Cowboy is just outside my top ten rookie backs right now.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.