KJ Hill, A Rough Draft…

Michael Thomas, Terry Glenn, David Boston, Michael Jenkins, Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr., Joey Galloway and Cris Carter. What do all these players have in common? Captain obvious response: all Buckeye great receivers who have gone on to fantastic careers in the NFL. More in-depth response: while Ohio State has been a wide receiver factory over the last 30 years, none of these players caught more passes in college than KJ Hill. 

Quez Watkins, James Proche, Dezmon Patmon, Darnell Mooney, Isaiah Coulter, and John Hightower. What do you all these dudes have in common? Simple response: no clue because you’ve probably never heard of any of them. The truth: all are wide receivers who were drafted ahead of KJ Hill in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Not throwing shade at the guys mentioned, of course. Menace2Sports is here for the culture and we hope each of them go on to have tremendous professional careers. However, we are also here for keeping it 100 thousand and KJ falling into the 7th round is absurd. 

He wasn’t even the first guy named KJ drafted. Hell, he wasn’t even the first receiver named KJ drafted. Penn State’s KJ Hamler caught a little over one fourth of the balls KJ Hill caught in college, though. No big deal. At least his weekend was better than KJ Un’s. Too soon?

ProFootballFocus had KJ Hill listed as the 73rd prospect in the draft. He ended up 220th. To be clear, the Chargers picked up a high 3rd rounder in the 7th. Good for them, I guess.

Many questioned his 40 time (4.60) at the combine. Ironically, two of the premier WRs in the NFL ran a very similar time; Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins both ran a 4.57. Are we suggesting KJ is the next Hopkins, of course not. But it is food for thought.

And like these two high volume receivers, KJ has hands and he gets open. He was open in the Big Ten. He was open against Clemson. And more interestingly, he was open against Marshon Lattimore, Eli Apple, Denzel Ward, Gareon Conley, Damon Arnette, Jeff Okudah, etc. at practice the last few years. So we are falling in love with these Buckeye corners but not the players who are having success against them regularly?

The silver lining for KJ is he was selected to move to Los Angeles and compete for a spot in an offense that thrives in the short passing game. He’s going to be just fine.

Of course, Buckeye receivers have been passed over recently and gone on to prove their value. Exhibit A: THE aforementioned Michael Thomas. CantGuardMike owns numerous NFL records including most receptions in a season and most receiving yards for a player in their first four seasons. Simply put: he’s goated. However, here are the players selected before him in 2016: Corey Coleman, Will Fuller, Josh Doctson, Laquon Treadwell and Sterling Shepard (Insert Homer Simpson hiding in the shrubs gif here).

Just last year, Terry McLaurin led NFL rookies in receptions and was second in receiving yards. He would’ve likely led comfortably in both but he missed two games with injury. Heading into the season, ESPN talking heads were labeling McLaurin a career special teams guy. However, Terry spent his rookie Sundays in the endzone flexing. 

KJ Hill’s 201 career catches at Ohio State is a record that’s going to be safe for a while. He is also 6th in receiving yards and 6th in touchdowns. Until the controversial loss to Clemson in the national semifinal, Ohio State was undefeated in games that KJ caught a touchdown. 

When thinking of a pinnacle career moment, was it the game winning touchdown at Penn State his junior year? Or was it the back to back touchdowns his senior year in the Big Ten Championship game? The one-handed snag vs Minnesota? We considered a more simple play:

Last season at Michigan, Ohio State leading 28-16 in the 3rd quarter. Third and goal from the 6. Michigan can get off the field and keep it a two score game. OSU lines up in bunch and isolates KJ on Josh Metellus. KJ stems him and up, bullies him, and safely secures another clutch TD. Ball Game. Guess which player was drafted first, smdh…

Check with the Ohio State coaches or ask Buckeye Nation, KJ Hill is one of the most beloved of his generation. And as the myriad of NFL Buckeyes continue to show out on Sundays, will KJ be the next one? That will be up to him. 

Until then, get those Homer Simpson gifs ready.

by: Julian Thomas

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