A Look At B.J. Hill As A Potential Selection By The Detroit Lions In The 2018 NFL Draft
The Detroit Lions have a glaring need at defensive tackle heading into the 2018 NFL Draft. B.J. Hill, a defensive tackle from N.C. State is an intriguing prospect for teams needing a penetrating defensive tackle with great instincts. The Lions defensive line last season got very low production from their interior pass-rushing unit. While he does struggle to anchor on the line, Hill has shown some ability to sniff out screens and make plays at the line of scrimmage.
What Does B.J. Hill Do Well?
B.J. Hill has some of the better instincts of the interior defensive lineman in this class. Consistently, he was able to feel out screens and shut them down before they even started. He takes good angles to the ball-carrier. The Lions have really struggled to stop mobile quarterbacks from doing damage against them on the ground. Hill would be a player who could help out with that as he has good gap discipline, which helped him keep quarterbacks in check at N.C. State.
His pass rush move set is not that advanced. He has a couple of moves but prefers spin over others as it is the most developed to this point. His sack totals are on the lower end, but he was able to apply a good amount of pressure on a stacked defensive line.
B.J. Hill’s Biggest Issue Is Strength
While his frame would suggest that he has an adequate build to handle life on the interior line at 6’4, 315 lbs, power seems to be the main thing Hill lacks. This will likely be his biggest question mark heading into the draft. He is quite athletic and quick for a man of his size, which will draw interest from teams and rightfully so. Anyone with athletic ability and pass rush ability has a shot to play in the NFL’s pass-happy league.
However, his lack of strength could limit him to just that, an interior pass rusher. His pad level coming out of his stance and balance both appear to be quite poor. This combined with his lack of anchor made him a bit of a liability on downs one and two in college. In the pros, everyone will only be more athletic and stronger. If Hill cannot add more functional strength and work on his pad level, he may be limited to a 3rd down specialist.
If the Lions were to add Hill this upcoming draft, expect his name to be called after round three is over. While he certainly has the pass-rushing ability the Lions need, there will likely be more complete players or players with more potential where he is projected to get picked, somewhere in the third round. It will likely come down to value. If Hill begins to fall into the fourth or fifth round, Bob Quinn may make him the selection to help solidify their interior pass rush for the 2018 season.