While free agency has slowed down, the Lions are still making some moves. Most recently, they signed some more depth for the the defensive line by picking up former Seahawk and Jaguar, Jordan Hill.
Earlier in the week, we got to know more about Cornelius Washington during my crazy trip to Chicago. Later that day I got on a plane at O’Hare and headed out to Seattle to get some answers.
After grabbing a cup of coffee with Eddie Vedder at Starbucks at the top of the Space Needle, I asked anyone who would listen why the SuperSonics haven’t come back yet. As I asked around, I stumbled upon Kenneth Arthur of Field Gulls outside of Safeco Field. The home of Wrestlemania 19.
Kenneth told me he had all the info we could ask for on Jordan Hill. Here’s what he said.
POD: What are your overall thoughts on Hill's time in Seattle?
KA: “At the time he was drafted, I think there was a lot pressure on Hill to become a great player. John Schneider and Pete Carroll were looking almost draft flawless coming off of the historic 2012 class featuring Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner (seriously go back and check that class, every player in it played for a team last season, Wagner/Wilson are all-pros, Irvin, Howard, Lane, and Sweezy have landed big second contracts, Turbin and Toomer each had productive seasons last year), not to mention the hits of 2010 and 2011. They traded a first rounder for Percy Harvin and took Christine Michael in the second round, so Hill was the number two pick in that draft for Seattle. He hit the size and athletic profile that Pete needs in a DT (33.5" arms, 28 reps on the bench, good broad jump, relatively good speed) and his purpose was to be an interior pass rusher. I don't think he had any injury issues in college at Penn State but his purpose is limited to being a role player on passing downs.
He only played in four games as a rookie and little could be pulled from that. In his second season however, Hill flashed his ceiling with a stretch of 5.5 sacks in six games, but at the tail end of that he went down with a knee injury and he missed all of the playoffs.
I think a lot of things factored in the Seahawks loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, including injuries to Cliff Avril, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Jeremy Lane, but the absence of Hill equally sucked. I think any one of those players being healthy for the full super bowl, especially Avril, Lane, and Hill, changes the end result. He was looking like a great player for that six game stretch but he barely played in 2015 and was released last October. I think his time showed that as a football player he was a great third round pick but a reminder that football players are humans who have issues that prevent him from playing football. His time overall was disappointing but only because he could have been so good. If he remains healthy, he's got a Geno Atkins type ceiling, I do believe that.”
POD: What are his strengths?
KA: “He's a pass rusher. He uses his small-for-a-DT size to burst inside and disrupt the quarterback. There are complete defensive tackles, like what you've experienced with Ndamukong Suh, and there are run-stopping tackles who go unnoticed like Brandon Williams (taken seven picks after Hill, sigh), and there are pure pass rushers, and Hill falls into the latter category. He does one thing well and he does it extremely well.”
POD: What are his weaknesses?
KA: “Obviously I think there's some question if Hill will ever play again. If he's just out there playing at half-speed or being held out because of concerns that he'll get hurt again, what's his value? He can't play maniacally and stay healthy and he can't be effective maybe if he's not playing like a maniac. Outside of that, Hill's not going to be a three-down tackle and at best he's maybe out there as Detroit's number four tackle? I miss him on the Seahawks because Seattle played so much better during that six-game stretch where he dominated, but he's a limited player and he gets hurt all the time. I would not get my hopes up if I'm a Lions fan but if he manages to get in a full season he'll be an immediate fan favorite.”
POD: Can Hill make a large impact in Detroit? Or will he play a role?
KA: “I hope so, for his sake. I think I'd just reiterate some of the stuff I just wrote too. He's on an uphill battle to make the team, I think, but certainly if healthy I think he has a role on third-and-long. Not much more than that, but he also might make your favorite play of the game.”
So naturally, all of this is a little concerning. The consensus here seems to be that Hill has potential but not nearly enough. Health concerns seem to be the large portion of the concern. Hill has missed 33 games in his NFL career. That’s a problem. At this point, I’m with Kenneth. The Lions are more than likely kicking the tires on Hill to see if there is anything there.
We’ll find out soon enough. What do you think Lions fans? Do think Hill is in the Lions long-term plans or will he be gone before the regular season? Be sure to leave your comments below. I’ve got a plane to catch. Next time I’ll be in sunny Tampa Bay.