Typically, players who have elite speed eventually find their way onto the field sooner or later. There is bound to be a coach who can find a way to make that speed work for him. That is not Tyreek Hill’s story, because he is far more than just a speed guy, despite being an elite athlete in that category.
But that is to make the point that teams are not just going to have 4.3 speed guys lying around ready for them to use. When a team has to go up against Hill the following week, they are not going to be able to just use their superfast wide receiver sitting on the practice squad, because they almost surely don’t have one.
But the Pittsburgh Steelers did have Tevin Jones, and this past week, he was used on the scout team to simulate Hill for the defense. He doesn’t have nearly the spot of Hill, with whom he spent a few months a year ago while a member of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 90-man roster, from June through training camp, but he does know a little something about how the third-year wide receiver works.
Jones did run a low of 4.38 at his Pro Day out of Memphis in 2016. He’s not slow by any means. “You know, high 4.3s, you know what I’m saying”, he told reporters, “but I can resemble 4.2 if I have to”. According to Jacob Klinger, Mike Hilton looked up at him when he said this.
The practice squad wide receiver that he tries “to make some little extra happen at the end” of plays against the defense this week in the hopes of simulating what the defense will have to prepare for going against Hill. But perhaps he was a little confident in his own abilities.
On one play in practice in which he beat Cameron Sutton down the field but the cornerback was able to catch him from behind and knock the ball loose, he said, “if he can do that to me, he’ll be able to do that to him. So I’m happy he got a chance to do that”.
Jones was originally signed by the Steelers as a Reserve/Future signing at the end of last season. He spent time with the Houston Texans as a rookie in 2016 and then with the Chiefs in the offseason in 2017. He seemed to be an afterthought for even the practice squad.
But that changed when Marcus Tucker and Damoun Patterson both suffered injuries. He had a big final preseason game, including two touchdowns, which helped him earn a spot on the practice squad. And at least this week, the opportunity to simulate a former teammate for his current ones.