Austin Hill Player Evaluation

NFL scout Dave-Te’ Thomas breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of WR Austin Hill with his in-depth scouting report that goes well beyond the stats.

Austin Hill moved up the list on several Arizona receiving charts. His 150 receptions topped Jon Horton (136; 1983-86) for seventh in school annals, one shy of sixth-place finisher David Douglas (151 receptions, 2008-11). From the yardage standpoint, Hill also finished seventh with 2,305 yards receiving and he moved ahead of Horton and Rob Gronkowski (2007-08) to tie Richard Dice’s mark of 17 touchdown catches for seventh place. Hill had a pass reception in 31 consecutive games he played.

Hill has a legitimate NFL build, as he is an athlete who appears faster on the field than his rather pedestrian 40-yard dash time would indicate. He has good initial quickness off the snap, along with above-average hand usage and lateral quickness to gain a quick release vs. press coverage. He isn’t afraid to go over the middle. He has the ability to deliver a violent initial punch and sustain blocks, but his effort as a blocker is inconsistent.

He’s a sharp, savvy route-runner who varies his speeds and can sink his hips to generate separation. He also demonstrates a good burst laterally and does a nice job working his way back to the ball if he sees his quarterback in trouble. He appears to have soft hands, as he snatches the ball out of the air and is quick to put it away. He can track over either shoulder and possesses good elusiveness to make the first defender miss and the strength to run through arm tackles.

Hill shows good vision and will cut it back inside. While he may lack elite deep speed, he has good early acceleration, but is not the type that can simply turn on the deep speed needed to challenge over the top. His size makes it tough on the smaller cornerbacks to challenge him on jump balls and he’s the type that makes tough catches look routine.

Hill has outstanding body control to adjust and stab the ball out of the air. He shows good mid-range speed and the ability to change direction on a dime. Despite his size, he’s just an average blocker, and while he builds acceleration nicely he does not always get off the line as quickly as possible.

Hill sinks his hips, gears down quickly and does a nice job of getting shoulders turned around on comeback routes. He shows an adequate burst off the line and coming out of cuts but lacks elite explosiveness and should have a harder time separating from man coverage at the NFL level. Still, he has above-average body control when the ball is in the air and can adjust to passes thrown to the back shoulder.

Hill flashes the ability to snatch the ball out of air play, but he drops some passes that should be caught and there are times when he lets the ball get in to his frame too much. He doesn’t show a second gear when tracking the ball downfield and isn't going to run by many NFL corners. He doesn’t pick up many yards after contact and appears to lack ideal lower-body strength. He can make the first defender miss, but lacks elite elusiveness and breakaway speed.

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.


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