First-round pick shows work ethic
ST. LOUIS - Tye Hill is thinking like a player who has to prove himself instead of a first-round pick who has a guaranteed job. The St. Louis Rams' cornerback was on the field after the final minicamp ended on Sunday, working on his ball skills.
Hill said he's only following the advice of the Pro Bowlers he's trying to cover in practice, wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Both told him he's a big part of the defensive overhaul for the team, which was 6-10 last year, and that work ethic was important.
"I'm the first-round pick, so my expectation level is going to be higher than say a seventh-rounder or undrafted free agent," Hill said. "They tell me to keep working, and work when nobody's even watching.
"That's the reason I'm still out there catching balls."
The Rams held three minicamps because of a coaching change, and Hill has made a positive impression on new coach Scott Linehan every step along the way.
"At first he was probably a little starry-eyed, a fan of pro football," Linehan said. "Once he got here for a while he settled in and said, this is football, I've got to play it like I've always played it.
"He's really shown that he fits right in."
Taking Hill was a need pick for the Rams, given that both starting cornerbacks finished last season on injured reserve. Travis Fisher is recovered from groin woes and Jerametrius Butler expects to be at full strength for training camp after recuperating from knee surgery, although he was hampered in the final minicamp by a hamstring pull.
Hill will be battling for playing time with those two and free agent pickup Fakhir Brown.
"Competition makes the best of all of us," Linehan said. "We've developed a very competitive environment at a number of positions.
"I think that secondary is going to be a really fun one to watch in training camp and in the preseason to see who's going to step up and be the most consistent."
Fisher, who missed half of last season, said he's ready for the competition. He's generally considered the fastest Ram, and might be even faster now after shedding 10 pounds during the offseason.
"Obviously, how things went with the draft I couldn't control," Fisher said. "What I could control was when I stepped on the field."
The biggest difference for Hill in the third minicamp was his conditioning. After two earlier minicamps plus OTAs, or organized team activities, he's in great shape.
"I was here the whole time, working out and running," Hill said. "When you're out here working with these guys you get conditioning, and that's the main thing."
Like many first rounders over the years, Hill said it was important to avoid a holdout and hit the ground running with the rest of the team in training camp. The Rams will train at home for the second straight season starting July 27.
"I don't think there will be no holdouts," Hill said. "I have a good agent that's going to handle all of that. Hopefully, everything will go good."
Notes: Heavy rain forced the team to move Sunday's final workout to the indoor facility. "It's a little tight quarters, but it's better than a lot of places where I've been where you don't have anywhere to go," Linehan said. ... The minicamp doesn't mean the team will shut down until training camp. Three more OTA sessions are set for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. ... The Rams will alternate heavy and light work days in training camp, with morning and evening practices one day and a single afternoon practice the next. The team is bringing in portable lights.