2021 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Kylin Hill (Fantasy Football)
Virtually all of the top prospects have been talked about ad nauseam and rankings at the tops of each position group are mostly filled with the same guy even if there are minor differences here and there. With the top prospects mostly figured out, people start looking for the sleepers in the rookie class. The prospects who go under the radar for whatever reason, but can turn out to be great fantasy contributors in the NFL. One of the names that keeps coming up in Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill.
College Production Profile
|Year||School||G||Rushes||Ru Yds||TDs||Rec||Rec Yds||Total TDs|
Kylin Hill had a huge season in 2019 with over 1,500 scrimmage yards and 11 TDs, but he cut his senior season down in order to prepare for the NFL Draft. His work in the passing game was up and down. He averaged less than two receptions per game in the 24 games before last season, but exploded with 23 receptions in 2020 against LSU and Kentucky alone (he was knocked out of a third game against Arkansas after only one-touch). Those receiving totals were huge outliers where he had only one other game with more than three receptions in his career. Rushing was also up and down.
Hill had over 100 yards rushing in eight contests during his monster 2019 season, but less than 50 yards in the other five games. He hit a particularly bad rough patch with consecutive contests against AUB, TEN, and LSU where he turned 43 total rushes into only 92 yards. The inconsistency may stem from his running style.
|Height||Weight||40-Yard Dash||Vertical Jump||3-Cone||20-Yard Shuttle|
|5’10″||214 lbs.||4.57 sec||36″||7.2 sec||4.35 sec|
Overall, Hill has really good speed for his size. I was actually a little surprised his 40-time wasn’t faster after watching him play. He gets up to speed quickly and becomes a battering ram through the hole although he did get chased down a few times by defenders in the secondary. The agility scores aren’t particularly impressive and that shows up on the tape. Even in the plays where he was able to elude defenders in open space, his cuts weren’t very sharp and he had a hard time cutting upfield when plays got stretched out.
What’s on Tape
Everyone has their own process for evaluation, but I want to see whose number gets called on critical plays like 3rd-and-short or at the goal line. I also want to see what the player can do against both weaker and superior competition. Finally, and maybe this is just being a fan of physical football, I want to see if RBs can create “trails of destruction” through defenses. This is when, at the end of the play, several defenders are picking themselves up off the turf trailing the RB because they either got juked, run over, and/or dragged for extra yardage.
Games Viewed: Louisiana (2019), Texas A&M(2019), Alabama(2019), Kansas State(2019), LSU (2020)
1. Kylin Hill has exceptional power and balance.
There’s a special place in my heart for an RB who can straight take it to a defender a la Marshawn Lynch. Hill is one of those backs who will take a shot at a defender wherever they are on the field. He’s strong enough to easily break arm tackles and defenders are not going to like taking him on when he gets north-south.
2. Kylin Hill can have an immediate role as a short-yardage back.
This is one of the things I specifically look for in prospects; who does the coach trust in key situations. Hill’s number was called regularly on short-yardage situations and he normally made good on it. It shouldn’t take long before he carves out a role in short-yardage situations. We’re probably looking at a player that will have an immediate role as part of a committee, especially where he can be trusted with the ball. He had only one fumble with over 500 touches with Mississippi State.
3. Kylin Hill is a capable pass-catcher.
Pass catching is key for RB fantasy production, especially in PPR or .5PPR leagues. Hill isn’t exceptional at pass-catching, but we could expect production as a pass-catcher if he fell into an expanded role. He doesn’t have the greatest hands in the 2021 RB class, but he’s certainly not a one-dimensional grinder either:
Agility isn’t a particularly strong part of Hill’s play, but the play above is pretty good. You can kind of see the issue after the spin move. He’s dead in the water following the spin, but he gets just enough momentum and time to make another nice move to avoid the second defender.
What’s Not On Tape
1. Kylin Hill has questionable vision.
We can respect a guy that seeks contact only so much. This next play should have gone for another five yards easily if he had simply kept running straight. Hill pulls a Trent Richardson and runs straight into the defender in this play. Where he showed good agility in the play above, here the agility issues are on full display combined with a lack of vision:
This theme repeated itself through the tape. He’ll hit the line at full speed every time. He’s breaking it for a chunk play if there’s a good hole, but he’ll run straight into defenders or his own blockers if there isn’t. This is an asset in short-yardage situations where violent and straight tend to win over patience. He still tends to leave yardage on the field when a little more patience and vision would give his blockers more of a chance to work for him.
2. Kylin Hill’s struggles with pass protection at times.
Hill did a serviceable job in pass protection most of the time, but there were times he missed defenders breaking through the line. He also had a tendency to block by throwing his shoulder into the defender as opposed to getting himself in a winning position and squaring up. His shoulder blocks were effective in slowing the defender but meant he couldn’t sustain his block if the QB needed more time. I’m not sure an RB has ever entered the NFL without pass protection being at least a “concern” though.
2021 and Dynasty Fantasy Outlook
Jeremy Hill came out as a rookie and totaled over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and nine TDs without having a primary back role for half the season. Jeremy Hill went on to post 30 TDs within his first three seasons even though he never eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing again. Comps are mostly irrelevant and Jeremy Hill was a bigger back than Kylin Hill, but that sort of TD vulture turned surprised fantasy producer seems to fit here. Kylin Hill isn’t going to be guaranteed a full workload, but he’s probably going to cross the goal line relatively regularly as part of a committee. Depending on the landing spot, he might not be a bad flyer as a late-round pick. He should be high on your waiver wire radar if he’s not drafted in leagues.
Hill will likely be one player away from huge fantasy relevance for the majority of his career. Even without the ideal circumstances, his TD upside alone might be worth desperation flex plays for multiple years. If you’re debating about drafting him, you can ask yourself “Would you have drafted Jeremy Hill or Jordan Howard in the second round of rookie picks?” I think the “sleeper” designation he’s received is warranted, but not in the sense that he’ll become a top-12 dynasty RB. That doesn’t mean he can’t help a dynasty team especially if the team is a contender.