2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Wyoming RB Brian Hill

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#5 Brian Hill / RB / Wyoming 6’1 211 lbs

The Good:

– Bounces off tackles because of good contact balance
– Excellent vision, follows blocks well
– Has power to keep the pile moving
– Solid pass protection, anchors well
– Great stiff arm
– Gets skinny through holes

The Bad:

– Does not offer much as a receiver
– Runs upright
– Limited elusiveness due to upright running
– Average burst through the line

Bio:

– 2016: 349 carries, 1860 yards, 5.3 ypc, 22 TDs
– Holds the Wyoming record for most rushing yards in a season
– 4287 rushing yards in three seasons at Wyoming
– Wyoming’s first 1000-yard rusher since 2008
– 41 receptions for 403 yards in 3 seasons at Wyoming
– Named first team All Mountain West in 2016

Tape Breakdown:

The more film I consume on Wyoming’s Brian Hill, the more I take a liking to the running back’s game. A well-rounded running back, Hill is a stout downhill runner who became one of the most productive runners that Wyoming has ever seen.

Hill’s production comes from the running back’s great vision and balance. A quick decision maker, Hill channels his way through blockers to consistently pick up tough yardage. Watch below as Hill follows his blocks and moves through the New Mexico defense picking up the first down and more.

As Hill makes his way past the line of scrimmage, he is able to quickly process the three defenders awaiting him to the outside and runs through an inlet to the inside.

Being over six feet and 210-pounds, Hill also carries a variety of power moves that he can use to get tough yardage. Hill does not avoid contact and will drive through defenders in the open field. If you do not believe me, just ask the poor Colorado State defender who got in Hill’s path.

Could Hill have gained more yardage there by turning up the sideline instead of into contact? Perhaps yes, but for argument’s sake, this was the most impressive display of Hill’s strength and power at the second level. Hill’s open field power does go hand in hand with his power at the line of scrimmage as Hill can push the pile forward.

When he’s not pushing the pile forward, Hill can get through tight holes by squeezing his large frame through. The ability to get skinny is an important trait for Hill to possess, as the competition in the NFL will certainly exceed the defensive line play he saw in the Mountain West Conference.

Besides the obvious squeeze demonstrated on the play, Hill’s play as he bounces outside caught my eye as well. With no real second gear, Hill uses his hands to slap away the defensive back’s tackle attempt, giving him the few extra steps he needed to score on the play. Hill will have to use any advantage he can get when he hits the outside in the NFL, a big reason why his stiff arm is so important.

The poor Washington State defender pictured above joins the Colorado State defender as players who have felt the wrath of running into Hill at the second level. If Hill can do more of the same in the NFL, it may not matter that he is not the fastest player on the perimeter.

But now that Hill’s running style has been dissected, it is time for the moment of truth, the question that everyone has had on their mind. Can Hill pass protect? Well, it is with pleasure that I inform you that Hill can indeed pass protect, in fact he can do it quite well. In my time viewing Hill’s game tapes, I believe I counted one instance of a missed assignment resulting in a sack. Hill anchors well, and for the exception of one instance is very quick at picking up incoming pass rushers.

Hill has the pass blocking fundamentals down to a tee. Squat position, hands at the correct pad level and extend. Out of all the running backs that I have currently watched, Hill is perhaps the most consistent at executing his duties in pass protection.

Though Hill runs a little too upright for my liking, the running back does have the making to be a quality back in the NFL. The Wyoming product has the vision and intangibles that many teams will want to add to their roster. Hill may never be a face of the franchise type back but being a serviceable starter is not out of the question.

Projection: Late Day Two (Third Round)

Games Watched: vs BYU, vs Nebraska, vs Washington State (2015), vs San Diego State, vs New Mexico

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White

About the Author

Daniel Valente

Steelers fan from birth, spending majority of my free time looking up statistics. Had the honor of meeting Mike Vanderjagt shortly after his infamous missed field goal in the 2005 Divisional Round. Currently pursuing a Journalism degree. Follow me on Twitter @StatsGuyDaniel

  • Cwallace

    Everytime I see a rb related post, the first thing I look for is breakaway speed, elusive, good balance after contact, no injury history. We’ve got our bruiser in fullback and rb…and the rb is sneaky good with his power. Gimme Willie Parker 2.0. I’m a FSU man and we could cook with Cook. He’ll be long gone before we look at rb. …if they address it at all.

  • Daniel Valente

    I think it is a two way street. If you have a highly quick, speed runner he almost has to be able to run up the middle like Bell can to ensure the offense does not become predictable. On the other hand, finding a running back with similar qualities to Bell makes it less predictable.

  • Spencer Krick

    A lot of rb’s to like in this class, but Brian has two things I like the most: Vision and Pass Protection.

    He’d definitely be on my radar in the 3rd round.

  • Ace

    I saw a gif of Hill a few weeks back plowing through a guy and had an instant draft crush on him. I like his style and would love him as a later round pickup. Still pretty early on but if they don’t pick up Dwill or another FA I’d love to see him in B&G. Interesting thoughts on the smaller 3rd down backs vs everydown players but I think with Bells history they need a guy who has everydown potential. Love to have a James White type but he isn’t nearly as effective without Blount there.

  • Brian Miller

    Thanks for the article on Hill Daniel…I would be thrilled to grab him in the middle rounds.

  • LucasY59

    from what I have seen so far with Hill his draft projections are all over the place, 3rd-UDFA, one site had a story on how he isnt that into football and his mom had to force/bribe him to play (so he could go to college) Im sure it happens to some degree with players all the time, but a guy that doenst really want to play that will be stuck behind a Star player and barely see the field does not seem like a good situation (but I also am not sure how credible the story was in the first place)

    I do like how he runs the ball (and have had enough interest to do some redsearch) if he is available in the mid-late rds I would pick him, but as a 3rd rd pick I think they could get better RBs and am not even sure I would want to take one that early

  • Daniel Valente

    I came across that story, i believe the reason she paid him was to keep him out of trouble and it mentions that it was youth football. Hill says “I was more focused on playing video games at that point of my life..”
    Sounds like every pre teen kid, don’t think it was a love of the game issue.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Wyoming’s QB made some nice plays. Kind of a gunslinger. I’d take Hill he looks like a good prospect

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  • Steve

    Hill reminds me of OJ Simpson when he runs. Has the same type of style, power and vision. Will be a nice pickup for any team that drafts him. Bell needs a younger backup.

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  • Jason

    I am a big fan of this guy, and I think the WY QB will be in the Steelers view next year.

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