It's the board vs. needs. It's the strings that dictates their actions; the philosophy that's been bought and sold. If we're buying into that philosophy, then LSU running back Jeremy Hill, selected No. 55 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, was ranked higher than USC center Marcus Martin, Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy (or the influx of defensive ends that still remain), and OSU running back Carlos Hyde. If we're to believe Cincinnati's overall approach in the grande scheme of things, then trust is all they ask (and mostly deserve).
This is a good selection. Value might be questionable but need was apparent as the team's power running game felt nonexistent. And really, the whole value/need discussion will be a faded memory at this point next week.
When head coach Marvin Lewis called Hill to let him know that the Bengals were taking him, the running back called it "an out of body experience."
Jeremy Hill vs. Carlos Hyde. Since the comparison will be made, Bengals running backs coach Kyle Caskey offered an explanation, saying that Hill is a "better fit" in Cincinnati and "more of a complete player" that "played in the SEC." Hill ran for 1,401 yards rushing in 2013 with 16 touchdowns rushing and a 6.9 yard/rush average -- all of it on par with Hyde, who took more of a pounding over his last three seasons at Ohio State. We know that the comparison will be one of those time references that's not unlike Kevin Zeitler and Steelers David DeCastro.
What's Hill all about? Hue Jackson loves the physical play of Hill; a significant key to his game. One cut, downhill runner. And the Valley Shook, SB Nation's LSU site writes:
Big, powerful runner with speed to break the big play...well-built, weight is distributed well through his legs, torso and arms...gifted, instinctive runner that thrives behind both zone or power blocking...tremendous burst, both through the hole and at the second level -- knows how to accelerate at the right moment to break away from linebackers...upright runner, but with tremendous balance...keeps his feet on the first hit and stutters well to make a tackler hesitate...uses the stiff-arm well...runs behind his pads and keeps his level low at the point of attack in short-yardage situations...incredibly intelligent as a football player -- picks up blitzes as a blocker, and has big, soft hands in the passing game...knows how to do the "little things," like reaching for extra yardage or staying in bounds in a 4-minute situation...had a relatively light workload with just two years of college, so should be very healthy.
Impacts the Bengals '14 roster. Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson says that there's still a place for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but that "position" is precarious at best. If Cincinnati releases Green-Ellis, the Bengals will save $2.5 million against the cap ($3 million cap number in '14 with $500,000 dead money). Despite Jackson saying that he can never have too many backs, it won't make sense to have two similar running backs. We're not expecting Green-Ellis on the 53-man roster this season.
There is the question of character. Hill, who is currently on probation until July 12, 2015, mailed a letter to all 32 teams in the NFL that detailed two arrests -- once as a high-school senior for "statutory sexual assault, and again after freshman season at LSU for punching a man in a bar fight." At the 2014 NFL Combine, Hill accepted that these issues would be spotlighted.
"I put myself in that situation, but, like I said, I can't really focus on that," he said. "All I can do is make the right decisions going forward and put myself in the best position possible. ... I'm just moving forward and doing the right things from here on out."
We get that kids do stupid things. Based on him clearly taking responsibility and moving on, we don't see character being an issue in Cincinnati.
Some videos to introduce Hill to Bengals fans.