Runs away from defenders when he gets in the open field
Accelerates to the second level
Runs with great balance
Has a nose for the end zone
Wears down defenses
Can change the complexion of an offense as a physical runner
Experienced and successful against good college programs
Capable of controlling games
Runs well in the second half
Perfect fit for a zone-blocking system
Good short-yardage back
Fresh legs, little mileage used up in college
Will have to learn pass protection
Summary: The LSU Tigers program has been a factory for big, quick, physical running backs. The Tigers have been deep with a lot of talented backs over the past couple of years, but among all of them, Hill was clearly the best. Because of LSU's rotation of backs, Hill enters the NFL with fresh legs and has avoided injuries while playing in the SEC.
Despite a lot of veteran running backs ahead of him, Hill forced his way onto the field in 2012 because he was more talented than the other ball-carriers. The freshman ran for 755 yards with 12 touchdowns and 5.3 yards per carry.
Hill was the featured runner for the Tigers in 2013. The sophomore averaged 6.9 yards per carry over the year for 1,401 yards with 16 touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 181 yards. Hill led the way for LSU to be the only SEC team to beat Auburn last season as he carried the ball 25 times for 184 yards and three touchdowns. He had a number of big games including Mississippi State (16-157), Florida (19-121) and Arkansas (20-145). To conclude his collegiate career, Hill destroyed Iowa with 28 carries for 216 yards with two touchdowns.
In the ground game, Hill can be a dominant. He is a one-cut downhill runner who has surprising speed for such a big back. Hill hits the hole in an instant and accelerates to the second level. In the open field, he is faster than defenders think and can pull away from tacklers to break off long runs. Hill is a tough runner who picks up a lot of yards after contact and is tough to bring down. He is strong to break tackles and run defenders over. Hill should be a power runner who can control games in the NFL.
When it comes to passing, Hill has some ability with quality hands and is a capable check-down receiver. He is good in the open field off of check downs and screens. Hill could be a nice outlet player. He will have to improve his pass protection for the NFL, but that is a common issue for all college running backs.
Sources have told WalterFootball.com that Hill is grading out as a second-round pick, and some of them have Hill as their top-rated back. For the NFL, he should become a three-down running back to lead his offense. Hill is a bell-cow runner who can eat up a large workload and give his team a downhill rushing attack. He has the size, power and speed to end up being a Pro Bowl back.
Player Comparison: Marshawn Lynch. There are a lot of similarities between Lynch (5-11, 215) and Hill. They are both physical downhill runners who have surprising quickness for power running backs. Hill can be a lead back, like Lynch, who racks up a lot of carries and carries an offense's rushing attack. Lynch was a first-round pick, while Hill is likely to be a second-round pick.
NFL Matches: Houston, Jacksonville, Tennessee, New York Giants, Cleveland, San Diego, Oakland, Miami, Atlanta
There are a lot of teams that are going to target running backs on the second day, or in the mid-rounds, of the 2014 NFL Draft. The most likely landing spots for Hill could be the Browns, Texans and Titans.
In the AFC South, Hill has a few landing spots. The Texans could use a running back behind Arian Foster since Ben Tate left in free agency. Foster has had injuries, so it looks very likely that Houston will be drafting a running back. Hill could fit the Texans at the top of Round 2. Elsewhere in the division, the Jaguars could use a feature runner for their offense even though they brought Toby Gerhart to Jacksonville. The Titans, meanwhile, moved on from Chris Johnson, and Hill would be a nice replacement as a back with some power. Tennessee could be Hill's most likely landing spot.
Cleveland needs a starting running back as Ben Tate wasn't signed long term and has had injury issues. If the Browns decide to address other positions in the first two rounds, the organization could use one of its second-day picks on Hill. Cleveland could get a nice value by targeting a back like Hill early in Round 2.
In the AFC East, Miami could still draft a running back even after signing Knowshon Moreno, but Hill's off-the-field issues could get him ruled out by Miami's strict regime.
In the Big Apple, the Giants signed Rashaad Jennings in free agency, while David Wilson is coming back from a dangerous neck injury. Adding another runner could make sense for New York. Hill would be a nice fit in the Giants' offense to give the team a young Brandon Jacobs-type runner.
In the AFC West, San Diego has Ryan Mathews, but he's been hurt and was a pick of the prior regime. Donald Brown may not offer much as a backup for the injury-prone Mathews. Hill would be a good fit for the Chargers' offense. Oakland re-signed Darren McFadden to a 1-year deal and added Maurice Jones-Drew, but those veterans have been injured a lot and aren't long-term solutions.
Atlanta made a short-term signing with Steven Jackson, but the Falcons need a starter for the long haul. Hill could be a nice fit in Atlanta and transform the team's offense with a physical runner.