The latest in Larry Johnson Sr's long line of draft-worthy defensive linemen, Hill follows in the footsteps of fellow tackle Devon Still and ends Jared Odrick, Jack Crawford and Cameron Wake, as well as Tamba Hali and Aaron Maybin, both of whom played for Johnson in college before ultimately ending up at the linebacker position in the league.
Hill came to Penn State from Steelton Highspire in Steelton, PA, committing fairly late in the process, in January 2009. He was too talented to redshirt, and became a part of LJ's steady rotation on the line right away, playing in eight games and recording twelve tackles and a sack. He continued his solid production in 2010, his sophomore season, starting four of the game and notching 36 tackles, including 2 TFLS.
His junior season was when he really came into his own. Starting every game, he led all linemen with 59 tackles, including 8 TFLs and 3.5 sacks, as opponents tried to key on fellow lineman Still, leaving Hill free to wreak havoc. He also had three fumble recoveries to lead the team that year.
His productivity increased this past season, when he logged 64 tackles, including 8.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. He also had one interception he returned for nine yards--rare for a lineman, let alone one who's based out of the interior. He ended the season on a monster note, practically single-handedly destroying the Wisconsin offensive line in the Nittany Lions' 24-21 overtime win.
Have you met our friend Jordan Hill? He's kind of a beast.
Hill played 3-technique nose tackle at Penn State, and looks to do the same at the next level. Unless a team really, really likes him, he will likely be drafted by a team that runs a base 4-3, as he doesn't have the quickness required to switch to an end in the 3-4, and by most accounts doesn't have quite the power required to be the sole nose tackle in a 3-4.
At the combine, he ran a 5.23 40 and logged a 22" vertical jump--not incredibly impressive (though his 28 bench reps were good), especially amongst a draft class with a number of talented defensive tackles. His numbers went up at the PSU pro day, running a 5.02 40 and a 30" vertical jump--still not amazing, but combined with his sound technique and his ability to be coached, he'll be drafted this weekend.
Like most defenders that come from Happy Valley, Hill is a solid tackler and has experience defending both the run and the pass. As we've recently seen, Johnson drills his linemen to get their hands up to disrupt the passer not only by rushing the quarterback, but also by distracting and getting their hands on passes in the air. Hill was consistently able to do this, being good with his hands in all necessary aspects of the line game.
Ranked #112 in SBN's top 200 final overall NFL Draft rankings, Hill has been projected as high as the third round, and whether he goes then will likely depend on how fast the other tackles in front of him are taken. If he falls to the fifth (or below), the team that gets him is getting a steal--a fundamentally sound, quick-off-the-snap lineman with football smarts and a drive to learn and succeed.
Good luck in the draft, Jordan!
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