Tuesday, April 29, 2008
New Bears QB Nick Hill: An In-Depth Look
Have to say I was pretty happy with Bears draft overall. If they picked Mendenhall instead of Williams I would have been unbelieavbly pissed. You're not going to run the ball to any amount of success without displaced Fred "Why won't my feet move?" Miller. I would have prefered to see them draft Ray Rice instead of Forte, but I'll let the offensive drafting guru that isn't Jerry Angelo have a chance to prove himself on this one. Well, as you know the Bears passed on chances of selecting a Brian Brohm, a Josh Johnson and a slew of others, they did pick up two QB's after the Radio Hall Bonanza. And seeing as how I covered the Saluki football team inside and out for four years, yours truly watched Nick Hill in person for a full year (his junior year). I'll break it down for you with some strengths and weaknesses that are backed by what I saw.
- First and foremost, Hill can move in the pocket very well. Unlike the Sex Cannon or Jack Daniels, Hill has a good feel for area around him when things start to collapse, and has no problem gaining positive yards with his feet. He's got above average speed and is athletic enough to break what would look like a 3 yard gain into something like 15, which is something Bears fans haven't seen in oh say 30 years. Hill was also on the basketball team; he originally got a scholarship to Western Kentucky for Hoops, but transferred to SIU after a year there. Hill only really got garbage time, but it goes to show he's pretty talented.
- While he is a lefty, he throws pretty acurately when he sets his feet. On the move, not as much, but still decent. Keep in mind though, that while the Gateway conference in Div 1-AA (still refuse to join this FCS/FBS Bullshit) is arguably the best overall; it's not even in the realm of the Big Ten.
- The guy is definitely a leader on the field. Unlike Grossman who gives stupid ass smirks no matter what happens, Hill has the demeanor that he expects you to run your routes without stopping, finish blocks, and make the extra effort.
- As I mentioned, he doesn't have great accuracy on the move. I can think of a couple times in different games where he had a man wide open and either threw it at his feet or a little over his head. While he was much more accurate then previous QB Joel Sambursky and had better arm strength to the out patterns, he's not going to throw a 60 yard strike on the money. I would say anything within 40-45 yards would be his range of being able to get a good ball in a tight window. That would worry me too with Hester on the field. If Hester can break away, Hill may not be able to hit in stride, and while the receiver is generally at better odds with an underthrown ball then a cornerback, a safety playing over the top would nullify that play quickly.
- I wouldn't so far as to say the guy is streaky, but he does need to establish himself in the passing game early. Now, Hill's completion has always been high (64-68% range) but these aren't intricate reads here. You don't really have to hold a Missouri State Safety in place to lock on to your primary receiver on an inside slant route. That's why he's going to struggle with the speed in training camp.
Hill was a great SIU quarterback that took the torch from Sambursky and carried it well for two years. As I stated before, his mobility is a huge plus for him because he can pick up a second and three and keep the chains moving. Character wise, I found Hill to always be pleasant; whether be after a loss, or even at Pinch on a Friday night. However, I don't know if he has the complete tools to make it happen on the next level. His arm strength was good enough for Div 1-AA, and probably good enough for the Big Ten, but the NFL...I don't think so. The intanigbles? Yeah, he's got a competitor spirit in him that doesn't fuck around and wants to win. I think if he were to be in the system for at least two years, he could make a case in his third year of the 3-year contract he signed. No matter what happens, I'll be pulling for my fellow alum. Good luck, Nick...you'll need it.