What's K.J. Hill's Value as a Slot Weapon for the Chargers?
With the 220th pick in the NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers select K.J. Hill.
Hill was a four-year wide receiver for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and he ended his career as one of the best in school history. Let's take a look at Hill's fantasy relevance being thrown into a deep receiving core in Los Angeles.
Hill was really as consistent as they come in college. In four seasons, he played in 53 games, catching at least one pass in 50, and he tied the school record with 201 career receptions. He's had a catch rate of 75% or more in four straight seasons and saw a 16% target shares or more in his final three. Hill tied a program record with 48 consecutive games catching at least one pass, and he finished sixth in school history with 2,332 career receiving yards and 20 touchdown receptions.
One on one, Hill is a dynamic combo of speed and agility, allowing him to separate in the slot, as he posted the second-highest percentage of wide open targets five yards or in (58.5%). He earned consecutive honorable mention all-Big Ten honors in 2018 and 2019 as receiver, and he also made his mark with the Buckeyes as a dependable punt returner with 45 career returns in his final three seasons.
No matter who was behind center, Hill caught at least 56 passes on 74 targets in his past three seasons and 9.8 yards per reception. At six-feet tall with a 4.6 40-yard dash, he won't blow you away, but he is a reliable target in the slot with his ability to create separation through his polished route running.
What to Expect
Hill will play a limited role in the slot and be an option in the return game. In his first season, expect his consistent hands to earn him playing time as long as he sees the targets. Hill could eventually see an expanded role in the slot as a No. 3 or 4 receiver if he beats out Andre Patton and newly-drafted Virginia receiver Joe Reed.
The Chargers added a ton of talent in this draft as they move on from Philip Rivers towards the future of Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert. Hill will have some competition but could earn his stripes in a new offense that will surely be figuring themselves out as they go on. The Buckeyes' all-time leading receptions leader could be like a sponge behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and soak up as much as possible to see more than a special teams role as a rookie.