The 6-3, 319-pound Hill first became a full-time starter in Athens during the 2019 season when he made 14 starts at center. As a true freshman the previous year, he played in all 14 games with starts in the final four at right guard.
This past season, Hill was limited to eight starts as he battled knee issues before shutting it down to have surgery on both knees to repair torn menisci. Had it not been for the injury, Hill could have snuck into the end of Day 2, but he now begins his pro career with more uncertainty as to where he’ll be this fall.
In terms of of where Hill was projected, some had him as a top-150 prospect, while others thought that Round 6 range was the correct value.
- ESPN’s Todd McShay had Hill ranked 146th overall in his final big board and fourth among centers.
- Fellow ESPN analyst Mel Kiper had Hill ranked 108th overall and third among centers. The two guys ahead of him (Creed Humphrey and Landon Dickerson) were both second-round picks.
- The Draft Network ranked Hill 133rd overall.
- NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein gave Hill a 5.69 grade and projected him as a priority free agent.
- The consensus big board by The Athletic’s Arif Hasan had Hill checking in at 200th overall and seven among centers, so Cincinnati got decent value with the 190th pick.
Looking ahead, Hill could challenge for playing time at center depending on the recovery of Trey Hopkins, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 17 of last season. Despite having that devastating injury happen so late in the season, Hopkins has progressed very well in his recovery while Billy Price has taken first-team reps at center this offseason.
Perhaps Hill can win a roster spot but contributing more at guard as a rookie, where guys like Michael Jordan and Xavier Su’a-Filo ‘should’ be on the hot seat, though second-round Jackson Carman is essentially guaranteed a roster spot, while both Price and Hopkins can play guard as well.
There’s no question Hill has his work cut out for him to make the final roster, so projecting him to the practice squad may be the safer bet heading into training camp.