Tom Brady joins the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inheriting a pair of All-Pro wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, a super-athletic tight end in O.J. Howard, another reliable outlet at tight end in Cameron Brate, and a young running back in Ronald Jones with all the potential in the world.
So, what more could the six-time Super Bowl Champion want in an offense? Well, an upgrade or two on the offensive line wouldn’t hurt, and the team has already helped by signing Joe Haeg in the off-season.
An expected early draft pick spent on the offensive line will help matters even more, and then there’s expectations the Bucs will draft a running back on day two of the 2020 NFL Draft.
But what about wide receiver? In a passing league it’s not uncommon to see three and even four receivers on the field for much of a given game. If Tampa decides to go three-wide, right now it appears the best option to fill the third role is Scotty Miller who is coming off a hamstring injury in his rookie season.
Not necessarily a bad option, but Miller hasn’t done anything to think the team wouldn’t bring in competition to see which guy can slot himself in the role Breshad Perriman held until signing with the New York Jets earlier this off-season.
There are a plethora of receivers available in what is being hyped as being potentially the best wide receiver group to ever enter an NFL Draft.
We’ll look at many of them, and some are going to be day one and two potential kind of guys. But K.J. Hill of Ohio State is a different kind of prospect. One who probably won’t blow the roof off any stadium, but could build quite the stable carrier in the NFL. Could it be with Tampa Bay? Let’s examine.
K.J. Hill’s Collegiate Career
Saying K.J. Hill is the Ohio State Buckeyes’ all-time leader in receptions is going to sound impressive off the top. But then, I’ll tell you he’s a mid-round 2020 NFL Draft prospect, and you’ll wonder what’s wrong with him. Well, as simple as Hill’s NFL projection might appear on the surface, there’s more to talk about with this player and how he may or may not fit in with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
201 receptions is the amount Hill finished with when all was said and done after the 2019 college football season came to a close. His highest reception output didn’t come in his final season, but the year before, when he brought in 70 passes with six touchdowns to go with them.
For his career efforts, Hill finished with 2,332-yards receiving and 20 touchdowns. He chipped in as a kick and punt return specialist as well, displaying his ability and willingness to contribute in whatever way the team saw fit.
Part of doing his part was catching a pass in 48-straight games for the Buckeyes, tying the school record held by Gary Williams who achieved the same feat from 1979-82. Had Ohio State made it to the National Championship Game, Hill likely would have made it 49-games in a row, and own two records for being perhaps the most consistent receiver in school history.
Even more impressive about Hill’s ability to contribute, is the fact he did so while starting just four games before the 2019 season, and played with guys named Devin Smith, Michael Thomas, Curtis Samuel, and of course, Campbell and McLaurin.
Coming out of the 2018 season, it was all about Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, even though McLaurin wouldn’t really turn heads until he went down to Mobile, Alabama for the 2019 Senior Bowl.
While Campbell and McLaurin made their way to the NFL, Hill stayed with the Buckeyes. And he watched as teammates Nick Bosa and Dwayne Haskins both became first-round picks last April. Campbell landed with the Indianapolis Colts in the second-round, and McLaurin went in the third-round to the Washington Redskins.
Nine Buckeyes were selected in 2019. Now Hill is looking forward to his day, which will likely be the third day, of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Consistency. While it may not be the biggest buzz-word associated with the Buccaneers these days, it’s still an important trait for any professional to have, especially a football player.
What Hill has is consistency. He consistently runs his route well, and with purpose. All the while, not tipping his hand to opposing defenses looking for cues as to what might be coming.
His hands are consistent, evidenced by his record-setting catching career with Ohio State. It’s not to say he’ll never drop anything, but if you’re looking for a guy who can be relied on to make tough catches in tough situations, Hill is your guy.
If you hate seeing wide receivers go stagnant while a quarterback runs for his life looking for an outlet, then Hill is the kind of player you want to watch. If his quarterback is working, Hill will be found working to try and make something happen for his team.
As receiver groups go, Hill is going to be a ‘glue-guy’. He’s not going to be your strongest, tallest or fastest guy in the depth chart. But when you’re looking for the player who brings a little but of everything, he’s the one you’re looking for, consistently.
Unless there’s a gear in there we just didn’t see during college, Hill’s ceiling is that of mid-level contributor. Could he rise to be a number-two NFL option? Never say never, I suppose. But it’s more likely he’ll be the type of receiver who helps set up the big score in the NFL, instead of scoring it himself.
He doesn’t have elite speed, strength or size. Isn’t going to get the 75-yard touchdown splash without something in the defense going terribly wrong.
Simply put, Hill is going to run his route really well, catch the ball really well, and do little of much else. Again, unless there’s a gear to his talent we’ve yet to see glimpses of.
Why The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need K.J. Hill
I actually may have more faith than others in Scotty Miller becoming a legitimate third-receiver. That being said, there’s no reason Miller’s potential should prevent the Buccaneers from adding more talented youth to the current group.
K.J. Hill may not possess the speed Miller does, but he brings another layer of ability to the roster. Having many receivers with various skill sets allows the offense to find the best match-ups every week, and exploit them.
Hill’s special teams ability and history is a plus, as Tampa continues it’s search for a legitimate return threat.
Should It Happen?
In the fourth-round, absolutely. Of course, this is assuming the team hasn’t already drafted a wide receiver in the second or third rounds. Some mock drafts have even pitched the idea Tampa may look at Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III in the first-round.
Hill is probably at the top of the day three list of receivers for most NFL teams, and he may even sneak into the end of day two if a team decides to spend a compensatory pick on him.
If Hill makes it to the third day of the NFL Draft however, he’ll be a great get for whichever NFL team gets him.
Check out this episode of the Locked On Bucs Podcast!
How do you feel about K.J. Hill for the Bucs in the 2020 NFL Draft?
This poll is closed
Draft him no matter what
Trade back candidate
I wouldn’t mind it
There are better options