Hill, a former Georgia Bulldog, adds depth for the Bengals in two areas. With Trey Hopkins coming off an injury, Hill gives the Bengals another center, but he came into Georgia as a right guard and originally played there as a true freshman. Most of the Bengals veteran guards, including Quinton Spain, Xavier Su’a-Filo, and Michael Jordan, have played primarily on the left side throughout their careers. Hill’s experience and comfort on the right side could help him challenge for a spot.
The 2019 Georgia offensive line was extremely talented and included 2020 first-round picks Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson, 2020 fourth-round pick Solomon Kindley, and Ben Cleveland, who went to the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of this year’s draft. Hill is the last starter from that group to have heard his name called, and rightfully so. He managed to turn enough heads to be placed on the Outland Trophy watch list heading into the 2020 season.
Hill’s athletic ability stands out on film and that’s where we will start our look at him.
This is an excellent reach block by Hill.
He takes an angle flat down the line of scrimmage. Initially, he engages on the defender’s inside shoulder, but he is eventually able to get his hips to the outside, and wall him off. He gets some help from the guard, whose initial contact prevents the defensive tackle from running flat down the line of scrimmage and helps Hill get to the outside.
As you watch this clip of Hill pulling, keep in mind that unlike the left guard, pulling isn’t Hill’s first job. His first job is to throw a strike.
The play starts with an accurate shotgun snap from Hill. He then does a great job of pulling to the outside and sealing the edge for the running back. This is a great example of Hill’s athletic prowess.
While he does well in space, Hill is not a dominant run-blocker inside. He has far too many stalemates, one of which is shown in the clip above. It’s not a bad play, you’d just like to see him get move movement.
I don’t think it is a matter of strength, his technique just has to be refined. In the clip above he needs to bend his knees and get his left hand inside to generate more power. Overall, he does not use his hands well, often striking too low or using his shoulder to block. This results in Hill leaning on defenders and falling off blocks.
These are all correctable issues, but it is things like this that pushed him to Day 3 of the draft.
Of course with Joe Burrow returning from injury, the number one concern of every Bengals fan is pass protection. Hill shows some nice skills in this area.
Here he sets to block the defensive tackle on the left. As the defender crosses his face, Hill does a nice job moving his feet and maintaining his position. He then sinks his hips to anchor and take on the power rush.
The defender is actually taken out by the right guard. The other defensive tackle has looped around. If the play continued, Hill would be expected to pick him up in an exchange with the guard, but it doesn’t get to that point as the ball is gone.
That’s new Bengals OL Trey Hill 15 yards down field stealing the ball back from the Tennessee defense after the strip pic.twitter.com/lnmlq8sys4— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) May 31, 2021
This was a pass play, but that doesn’t stop Hill from getting deep down field to hunt for a block. It really exemplifies all the things that Zac Taylor preaches in press conferences.
After the ball was thrown Hill ran down field looking to pick up a block for the receiver. About 15-yards down field he found his teammate immersed in Tennessee defenders and just as he got there, one of them stripped the ball. Hill took the ball out of the air to maintain possession for the Bulldogs on what would be a touchdown drive.
This was a huge play and demonstrates the importance of playing with great effort even when it doesn’t look like you can have a major impact on the play.
Hill is 6-3, 320 pounds, and can reportedly dunk a basketball. He’s coming off a season that ended with injuries to both knees, so we may not have seen the full extent of his athletic ability on film in 2020. If he can clean up his technique in a few areas, he could end up being a huge steal for Cincinnati.
It sounds like center Trey Hopkins will be ready to go for training camp following his injury, but just in case, Hill provides them with depth at the center position. Billy Price will be a free agent after the season, so if Hill can hold on to a roster spot or stick around as a member of the practice squad this year, he could fill Price’s role as an all-purpose interior linemen in 2022.