Jordan Hill could grab a spot on the D-line, but he’ll have to fight for it
Jordan Hill was a defensive lineman and fullback in high school. The Steelton-Highspire HS team won two Pennsylvania Class-A championships for Harrisburg. He was a three-year captain, the 2008 conference co-player of the year, and tallied three interceptions as a senior with the Steamrollers. That is an odd stat for a defensive lineman to say the least. Not surprisingly he went to Penn State. Hill avoided redshirting a season, no small feat, but played only 99 snaps as a freshman. Jared Odrick, Ollie Ogbu, and Devon Still were all members of that position group. All of those players made it into the NFL draft. He built on that snap total each season. As a junior, he started every game and notched 70 snaps in two consecutive games. As a Nittany Lion Hill exhibited a high motor and led the team by example.
Jordan Hill’s Pro Career
Hill went in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft to the Seattle Seahawks at the 87th overall pick. He was expected to be an explosive three-technique who would provide solid run stuffing and a bit of pass rush. The Seahawks possessed great depth on the interior of their defensive line. Hill had trouble cracking the lineup until week ten of the 2014 season. When he finally got playing time he racked up 5.5 sacks in six games, recorded his first interception as a pro, and recorded 13 tackles. Hill ended the year on IR, unfortunately going down in week 17. He was plagued with injuries for the 2015 season. He was not as explosive but played well against the run when he was able to suit up. Hill strained his quad during the final weeks of training camp in 2016. He took an injury settlement from the team and tried to catch on elsewhere.
Jordan Hill spent the 2016 season with the Washington Redskins and Jacksonville Jaguars, but never found a role with either team. He did dress for four games with the Jaguars, but their defensive line play was solid before he got there. He played just over ten snaps per game to close out the year. Bob Quinn made an underrated move with this acquisition. Hill hits the salary cap for $695k and only has $40k guaranteed. At age 26, Hill is young enough that it is not unreasonable to hope he returns to his late 2014 form in a defense that will put him in a position to succeed. The Lions have capable run stuffers in A’Shawn Robinson, Haloti Ngata, and Khyri Thornton. Hill came on board to provide the interior pass rush that the Lions lacked in 2016.
Can Jordan Hill make the Team?
In the end, Jordan Hill’s greatest enemy may be the numbers game. Jeremiah Ledbetter and Akeem Spence joined the team through the Draft and free agency respectively. Hill will have to be demonstrably better than his competition to make the team. Bob Quinn has shown that he favors keeping draft picks with potential over veteran free agents. Joe Dahl, Anthony Zettel, and Antwione Williams all took on bigger than expected roles in 2016. The Lions will almost surely keep Ngata, Robinson, Spence, and Ledbetter on the roster leaving only one spot up for grabs. Jordan Hill hopes to be the man who claims it.