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90-in-90 Bengals Roster Breakdown: Jeremy Hill looking to bounce back in 2016

After a down year in 2015, Jeremy Hill will be hoping to reestablish himself as an all-around rushing threat in 2016.

Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

After two years in the NFL, Jeremy Hill’s career has been completely unpredictable. In his rookie season, 2014, he broke out for an astounding 1,124 rushing yards, 215 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns despite only starting in eight games. He could regularly be seen making defenders miss, or simply plowing through them, occasionally breaking out for huge 60+ yard runs. He averaged a very impressive 5.1 yards per run and was seen as the Bengals’ answer to the running back position for a long time going forward.

His sophomore season, 2015, wasn’t quite as impressive. Despite starting in all but one game during the season, he only managed to record 794 yards rushing and 79 yards receiving. Granted, he did record more touchdowns in 2015 (11), despite rarely seeing more touches (223) than he did in 2014 (222). Those 11 touchdowns allowed him to tie with Devonta Freeman, Adrian Peterson, and DeAngelo Williams for the lead league in rushing touchdowns. But, being a touchdown vulture seemed to be the only positive aspect of an otherwise uninspiring 2015 season that ended with one of the most critical fumbles in franchise history.

So far, through the limited view of training camp and preseason games, Hill appears to be on track to bounce back in 2016. He played well against the Vikings in Week 1, recording 16 yards on only three carries. He continued with the exact same stats against the Lions, with the added caveat of punching the ball in for a touchdown on the very first drive. His statline of 5.3 yards per rush so far in the preseason might not mean much in the long run, but it definitely gives Bengals fans reason for hope.

Player Information:

Age: 23
Experience: Entering his third year
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 236 pounds
Position: Running back
College: LSU

Why he might improve in 2016

As previously explained, Hill already looks to be markedly improved in his running style and effectiveness. In 2015, he was ranked 162nd in the NFL in yards per rush (3.6), so it seems like there’s nowhere to go but up for the young player.

So far this offseason, he has been very vocal about improving as a runner and as a player. Recently, he even explained how he isn’t going to celebrate his touchdowns this year because he is going to be too focused on improving his game. With his naturally outstanding size and ability to get downhill in a hurry, there’s no telling just how great Hill can be in 2016.

Why he might regress in 2016

Hill had an issue with trying to do too much early on in 2015. He could regularly be seen trying to dance around defenders before being shut down quickly for either a short gain, no gain at all, or even negative yardage. His hips look tight and his inconsistent vision got the best of him in those situations. He seemed to shake that ill-advised running style off as the 2015 season wore on. It has yet to be seen in the 2016 offseason and preseason. But, he will need to make sure that he stays focused on finding the hole, hitting it quickly, and making plays from his quick burst rather than dancing around and try to second-guess himself.