The New York Jets are in the midst of the first week of rookie training camp where a few of their draft picks have already begun to separate themselves from the rest. While many critics question the choices that the Jets made on draft weekend, head coach Rex Ryan remains optimistic about New York's 2012 rookie class.
Ryan has openly stated that first round pick Quinton Coples is going to be a main fixture on the defense and that second and third rounders Stephen Hill and DeMario Davis are going to be major contributors. Add to that mix the arrival of Tim Tebow (who the Jets acquired for this year's fourth-round pick) and all of a sudden Gang Green's draft looks pretty impressive.
Now, the speculation begins as to who will make the immediate impact for the Green-and-White. One of the rookies to watch this season is former Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill. The 6-foot-4 wide out has already signed a deal with the Jets and is drawing comparisons to a few of the NFL's upper echelon receivers
Hill should be considered a lock to start come the first snap of the 2012 season. The young receiver wowed several teams at the NFL's scouting combine, running the 40-yard dash in just 4.31 seconds while also running routes with precision and reeling in the footballs thrown in his direction. Ryan recently told reporters that he considered taking Hill with his first-round pick, showing just how much faith he has in the former Yellow Jacket.
The Jets recently departed head of scouting, Joey Clinkscales, compared Hill's athleticism to that of Lions receiver, Calvin Johnson. As long as Hill doesn't implode throughout the rest of training camp, Jets fans should be accustomed to seeing him line up opposite star receiver Santonio Holmes. With Hill's size and speed, fans of Gang Green are hoping to see him emerge as the type of player they sought in Plaxico Burress last year.
At 6-foot-4, Hill should be a formidable threat to reach the end zone, especially in red zone packages. Many wonder how Hill will fair when being covered by the NFL's elite cornerbacks throughout season. With Darrelle Revis arguably the leagye's top corner marking him in practice, Hill should adjust well to life in the NFL.
Look for Hill to make an immediate splash in the NFL, racking up receiving yards right from out of the gate. The Jets first game of the season is against the Buffalo Bills, a team that has an exploitable secondary and should provide him with numerous opportunities to start his rookie year off with a bang.
With opposing defenses concentrating their efforts of keeping Holmes from moving the chains, Hill will have an easier time getting open down-the-field for quarterback Mark Sanchez. Expect Hill's breakout game to be Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins. The lowly Fins are expected to be the doormat of the AFC east this upcoming season.
With Hill's athleticism and ability, the Jets are looking for him to take on a dynamic role in their offense. While Holmes and tight end Dustin Keller will be sharing the field with Hill, expect the rookie wideout to eclipse 700 yards receiving. While it may take him another year to reach the 1000 yard plateau, it's plausible Hill could reach as high as 800 yards in his rookie campaign.
Hill's imposing size makes him a perfect red zone target as he will be on the receiving end of fade routes thrown by Sanchez and even Tebow. Hill will likely haul in eight touchdowns during the regular season, with the potential to surpass double figures. A stellar rookie year is in store for the Jets talented wideout.