NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill

From now until the 2021 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.

#8 Kylin Hill/RB Mississippi State – 5’10/3 214

The Good

– Thickly built, muscular build, bowling ball frame
– Good burst and acceleration, quickly reaches top speed, shows quickness in his game to win in space
– Uncommon use as a receiver in 2020, part of Air Raid offense, and forced to become comfortable running routes and catching passes, making plays in space
– Good hands, plucks away from body, able to make tough grabs away from his frame
– Tough runner, seeks out contact, looks to finish the play and prefers to gain extra yardage through contact than duck out of bounds
– Flexed out and comfortable being detached from formation
– Fluid route runner who creates space at breakpoint
– Gets skinny through the hole as a runner, vertical approach and doesn’t dance around
– Flashes power and can bounce off defenders when he’s up to speed
– Threat after the catch, able to run through arm tackles and has explosiveness to win in open field
– Squares up in pass pro and holds his own, gives good effort
– Great ball security, almost never put the ball on the ground
– Productive junior season as full-time starter
– Solid starting experience

The Bad

– Has power to win 1v1 but often needs to get up to speed to show it, average effectiveness between the tackles trying to churn out yards, works hard and drives leg but doesn’t always create movement
– Shows burst and good speed but lacks second gear to run away in open field
– Can be overwhelmed in pass pro vs blitzing LBs up the middle, struggles to sustain block
– Occasional dropped pass, most often when he doesn’t look ball in and tries to get upfield too quickly
– Weird senior season, caught more passes than carries before opting out
– Didn’t miss much time but often nicked up by injury, in part due to physical run style
– Unlikely to be full-time starter, only one season in that role

Bio

– Career: 452 carries, 2535 yards (5.6 YPC) 16 TDs, 67 receptions with six more TDs
– 2020: Played in just three games, 15 carries with 23 receptions
– Caught 15 passes against LSU in 2020
– 2019: 242 carries, 1350 yards (5.6 YPC) 10 TDs, 18 receptions 1 TD
– 2019 First-Team All-SEC by AP
– Played first three games of 2020, missed next two, then declared he was opting out the rest of the season to prepare for the draft
– One career fumble on 519 touches, hasn’t lost a fumble since sophomore year of high school
– Four ST tackles his freshman season
– Three-star recruit, had 11 offers out of HS, ran for over 1700 yards and 27 TDs as a senior

Tape Breakdown

Kylin Hill is a back with a skillset unlike most in this class. Though it was for only three games, and I suspect this is one reason why he opted out so early, Hill was a running back in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Which is to say, he didn’t do a lot of running. In Week One against LSU, Hill caught eight passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. Two weeks later against Kentucky, he caught an insane 15 passes in an otherwise ugly loss.

His 23 receptions in those three games (and essentially two, he didn’t catch a pass in limited action Week 2 vs Arkansas) were more than he had in any season in his college career. So he didn’t sign up or was born to be a receiving back but the offense he briefly played in forced him to become one. And he looks comfortable doing it. Hill has good hands and makes tough grabs outside his frame. Not too many backs making plays like these.

 

He’s a bowling ball runner with power and toughness. Hill isn’t one to go out of bounds. He’d rather seek out the hit and dish out punishment, which is a positive but does lend itself to higher injury risk and more wear and tear. Like these two clips against Alabama, which are especially notable because his team is losing 35-7 and the game is already over.

 

He also can straight up run guys over once he gets up to speed, though if you catch him at the line of scrimmage, he’s much more manageable to bring down.

 

But he isn’t overwhelmingly powerful and can’t always push the pile forward. And in pass pro, Hill shows effort and a desire but doesn’t always get the job done. Watch him fall off the blitzing LB (#23) against LSU.

 

And 2020 was an odd year to end a college career on. Three games, sat out the next two, and then declared. Sure there were a variety of reasons for that, COVID, injury/injury risk, but being a RB in a pass-first offense likely also played a role. To hopefully no one’s surprise, he was used more like a receiver than a running back under Mike Leach.

But Hill is an interesting dude. I don’t see someone who is a full-time starter but he has a well-rounded game and was fun to watch on tape. Having trouble finding a comparison that suits him especially well but sorta reminds me of Knowshon Moreno. Regardless of comp, an interesting later Day Two option if the Steelers don’t take a RB early and there’s a run on the position in the middle of Day Two.

Projection: Late Day Two-Early Day Three

Games Watched: at Texas A&M (2019), vs Alabama (2019), at LSU, at Kentucky

Previous 2021 NFL Draft Player Profiles
OC Drake Jackson OC Landon Dickerson TE Pat Freiermuth RB Javonte Williams
CB Patrick Surtain II OG Deonte Brown TE Kylen Granson TE Brevin Jordan
OL Trey Smith OT Adrian Ealy CB Jaycee Horn CB Kary Vincent Jr.
RB Elijah Mitchell OT Alex Leatherwood TE Hunter Long RB Najee Harris
CB Tyson Campbell LB Zaven Collins DB Greg Newsome TE Tony Poljan
DL Christian Barmore RB Kenneth Gainwell OT Rashawn Slater WR Kadarius Toney
RB Michael Carter EDGE Joe Tryon CB Thomas Graham Jr. WR Amari Rodgers
RB Demetric Felton C Creed Humphrey C Trey Hill LB Jabril Cox
CB Asante Samuel Jr. S Joshuah Bledsoe OT Samuel Cosmi S Trevon Moehrig
RB Chuba Hubbard S James Wiggins LB Garret Wallow
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