There are two free agent cornerbacks who played with the Detroit Lions in 2017. It’s important to reload that position, assuming they don’t return.
A noticeable trend in the NFL is length and size at cornerback. If I told you there was one listed at 6’3″ and 200 pounds, I’m sure I sparked some intrigue. New Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia certainly values those measurables.
Holton Hill doesn’t just look the part, he can walk the walk. In nine starts for the Texas Longhorns, Hill made 51 tackles, intercepted two passes (two touchdowns), broke up six passes, forced one fumble and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown last season.
Simply put, Hill is a stud. Just like a bull, he’s not afraid to come downhill and smoke defenders head-on. There’s a bit of safety to his game with the way he tackles and finishes plays.
All three of Hill’s career interceptions were returned for touchdowns. The other score came as a true freshman in 2015. Hill is an early entry as a true junior so he’s still young at only 20 years old.
Why isn’t someone of his caliber making more headlines? Well, 2017 didn’t quite go as one would hope.
In November, Texas suspended Hill for the duration of the season for violation of team rules. This is a concerning issue, one that will hopefully get cleared up through the process of the draft interviews. He missed seven games in 2016 for unspecified reasons.
Character issues aren’t his only concern. Hill doesn’t posses great speed, relying more on a combative approach and quickness.
Guys with length typically have stiffness in their hips and you can tell Hill suffers from that. Hollywood might be his nickname, but he didn’t make as many plays on the ball during his career with the Longhorns as many anticipated he would.
Overall, Hill is worth a shot. Given his rare size, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go as soon as the second round. He exhibits the qualities of a true shutdown corner.
It’s a safer projection for Hill to fall to the third or fourth round. With that kind of value and the Lions needing depth at corner, that’s a reasonable selection.
Even with the questions surrounding his character, there’s no denying he’s a baller. Detroit can’t assume Teez Tabor makes the leap into year two either.
I can almost guarantee the Detroit Lions add a corner in free agency, but they still need to add another for competition and depth. Hill has steal written all over him, so Detroit should take note and watch him closely before April 26th comes along.