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  1. #1
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    With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    Rams Hope Hill Will Tye Up Receivers
    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    Over the course of the past two years, Rams receiver Torry Holt has become something of a draft expert.

    So, when it came time for the team to make their first-round selection, No. 11 overall, it’s no surprise that the Rams listened to what Holt had to say when they selected Clemson cornerback Tye Hill.

    “Torry, that’s interesting, that’s right, Torry did like Tye,” coach Scott Linehan said.

    Of course, the Rams didn’t really allow Holt to make their pick for them and it was probably just a coincidence that the player the Rams chose was the one Holt had been stumping for in the media.

    “Torry has influence all the time, but when it came to the pick, we were going to pick our best player, and Torry was going to be happy with whoever we picked,” Linehan said.

    While Holt and the Rams were certainly pleased about the selection of Hill, nobody was more excited about becoming a Ram than Hill himself.

    “It feels great to be a St. Louis Ram,” Hill said. “It’s where I wanted to go. Once I first visited, I felt very confident in those guys. I’m glad to be a St. Louis Ram.”

    That feeling was more than mutual considering that the Rams had Hill ranked as one of the best defensive backs and players on their board. In fact, heading in to Sunday, Linehan said Hill was “right there” with Texas’ Michael Huff, who went seventh overall to Oakland.

    The Rams had Hill in for a visit before the draft a couple of weeks ago in an opportunity to get to know him and let him know what would be expected of him. While Hill isn’t exactly the biggest corner in the draft (he’s 5’9, 185 pounds), he has speed to burn.

    Hill ran one of the fastest 40-yard dashes at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, clocking in the 4.3s. But Hill says he can and has run it much faster. He claimed he ran a 4.15 his freshman year. Either way, one thing is for sure, Hill will instantly be one of the few corners on the team capable of keeping up with receiver Kevin Curtis in practice.

    “He’s probably the best cover corner in the Draft,” Hill said. “Obviously, his speed jumps out at you and his ability to cover. He’s one of those guys that have a very infectious approach. He backs down to no one. That’s what I look at in a corner. The guy has a little bit of; I don’t know if it’s arrogance, but more confidence about his abilities, but not over the top.”

    That confidence helped Hill accumulate five interceptions and 35 pass breakups in his time at Clemson. Those numbers might not blow you away, but they become even more impressive considering Hill’s start.

    Upon his arrival at Clemson, Hill was a running back. In 2002, he rushed 37 times for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But Hill had defense on his mind and instead of being asked to change positions by the coaching staff, he made the request.

    “I went to them and asked to be moved,” Hill said. “I wanted to continue to run track, and at that time I was a running back, and I knew I was going to have to get bigger if I was going to be a running back, and I was still running track. I didn’t want to give up track at the time. Terrence Newman was coming out of the draft that year, and I had seen all the things he had done on the track and on the football field. It made him a better football player. He was a top 10 pick. So I figured If he could do it, I felt like I could do the same thing, and that was my main reason to move to corner.”

    In case anyone questions Hill’s speed, his track and field prowess would put those to rest. Hill was at his best in 2003-04, when he won the ACC title in the 60m indoors in a time of 6.73 seconds and a title in the 100m outdoors in a time of 10.29 seconds.

    Obviously, there is more to playing cornerback than speed and that’s where a few of the doubts about Hill’s ability come in. Because of his lack of size, Hill isn’t the best tackler in run support, though he has shown a penchant for the big hit.

    “He’s outstanding,” Linehan said. “That is where he really came out, his coverage ability and his willingness to come out and tackle and occasionally blitz. He was very good at that, so he had very high marks in that area.”

    One area that Hill had no control over in terms of his performance was his size. With receivers such as Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Darrell Jackson to deal with every week, his size would seem to be a concern.

    But Hill says he is used to dealing with bigger receivers.

    “I’ve been playing against big receivers all my life,” Hill said. “Since I started playing cornerback, big receivers were the people I was playing up against. I don’t see that as a big problem for me.”

    Hill will be expected to come in and compete for a starting position right away. The Rams have been plagued by injuries in the secondary in the past few years and are expecting a return for Jerametrius Butler at one spot this year.

    After that, there will likely be an open competition between Hill, Travis Fisher, Fakhir Brown, DeJuan Groce and Ron Bartell. That competition would concern many, but Hill doesn’t mind so long as he gets a chance to contribute.

    “I feel like I can come in and contribute as much as they want me to,” Hill said. “It’s a learning process. So, I’m actually looking forward to coming in and learning to play the position. I’m behind some veteran corners, and hopefully one day I will gain the starting job.”

    As for Holt’s obvious affinity for Hill coming to fruition, Hill said he liked the idea of getting to go against the Pro Bowler in practice.

    “My family was telling me that,” Hill said. “I was watching the draft at the time, but they were telling me that he was like ‘this should be the pick.’ I’m glad he’s confident, and that confidence hit me. I can’t wait to get out there and practice with him.”

    And while Linehan isn’t exactly ready to turn over the drafting duties to his star receiver, he knows that when it comes to cornerbacks, there are few players in the league who will be a better judge of talent.

    “Torry was good,” Linehan said. “He’s kind of getting into that, and I think he knows a pretty good coverage corner when he sees one.”
    Last edited by Nick; -04-30-2006 at 01:57 AM.

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  2. #2
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    nice pick, he can replace travis fisher

  3. #3
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    i like the pick a lot.... the only knack i have on him is that is small like our other corners fischer, butler, etc...

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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    and bartell can replace butler, or we can just switch the second cornerback

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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    Fakhir Brown and Tye Hill to start at corner, Bartell to move to safety

  6. #6
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/profiles/2006/hill_tye
    Tye Hill
    Height: 5-9
    Weight: 186
    40 Speed: 4.38*
    Position: Cornerback
    College: Clemson
    Final Grade: G 6.3

    Unlike many cornerbacks, Hill is tough and willing to come up in run support and tackle. Despite being a small cornerback, he has the jumping ability, hand use and ball skills to get up high to break up passes in tight man-to-man consistently. He has very quick feet, and when he is over his feet and in good position, he can plant, drive and close on receivers on passes in front of him fast. He has shown the play speed to run with receivers on deep routes, but because of his side-backpedal he does not consistently turn and run without losing a step and does not play up to his timed speed -- he has displayed big time speed on a track, so he needs to improve his technique in order to play up to it. Overall, Hill has all the physical tools to be a good starting cornerback in the NFL who can shadow receivers all over the field. However, he is going to greatly need to improve his footwork/technique in order to become a consistent cover corner in the NFL. He will struggle early in his career, but in a season or two, he will develop into a good starting cornerback who breaks up more passes than most cornerbacks.

    CRITICAL FACTORS
    Athletic Ability M/M Off M/M Tight Competes Play Speed Instincts
    6.5 5.5 6.5 6.0 6.0 6.0



    STRONG POINTS
    Hill is a very good athlete with the very quick feet, acceleration and playing speed to stay with receivers all over the field. He has a real feel for the ball when his back is to the quarterback which allows him to turn his head back at the right moment and he can make a play on the ball to break up the pass. He is a tough player who consistently has shown a willingness to tackle in run support. He has good hands to make the tough interception.



    WEAKNESSES
    Hill is a short cornerback at barely over 5-9, and will have trouble handling big NFL receivers. He does not straight backpedal, but rather side-pedals and it leads to him getting turned around too often. Additionally, in off coverage he allows the receiver to close the cushion too quickly before he flips his hips and ends up losing a step because of it. He does not bend his knees and breakdown and tackle well consistently.



    POSITIONAL FACTORS
    Grade Category Comments/Description
    5.5 Read & React He consistently reads the play fast, but he doesn't consistently react fast.
    5.5 M/M Off He allows receivers to close the cushion and gets turned around too often.
    6.5 M/M Tight He stays right on the receiver's hip and breaks up passes consistently well.
    6.0 Zone Coverage He reads quarterbacks quickly and breaks and closes on passes well.
    5.5 Break & Close His break and close is very good in tight man-to-man, but bad in off coverage.
    6.0 Hips/Turn Ability He has the hips to turn and run very well, but needs to improve his backpedal technique to do so consistently.
    5.5 Tackling He tends to stay upright and reach tackle more than he should.
    6.0 Hands - Interception He has good hands to make the interception.
    6.0 Hands - Fight Blocker He will fight through blocks to get free and make tackles.
    6.5 Deep Speed He has very good playing speed, but needs to improve his backpedal in order to stay with the receiver out of the turn.
    6.0 Return Ability His hands, quick feet, acceleration and play speed make him good.
    5.5 Errors His bad backpedal technique causes him to get out of position too often.



    ATHLETIC ABILITY Section Grade: 6.5
    Hill is a very good athlete which is what has enabled him to be such a productive cornerback at Clemson despite starting his career as a running back and switching to corner as a sophomore. His very quick feet enable him to accelerate to full speed fast and combine with his flexibility and agility to let him flip his hips and run with receivers without losing a step in press coverage. He accelerates to full speed fast, can run with receivers on deep routes and has a very good closing burst to the receiver to make plays on the ball. Despite having very good natural athleticism, he tends to stay up high in his backpedal which hinders his ability to consistently transition/change directions. He has tremendous timed speed as the ACC 100-Meter and 60-Meter champion, but he needs to learn to play up to this timed speed consistently.

    Q.A.B. Quick Feet C.O.D. Flexibility Coordination
    6.5 6.5 6.0 6.0 6.5



    COMPETITIVENESS Section Grade: 6.5
    Hill is a tough cornerback who consistently has shown a willingness to come up in run support and will tackle -- he is not a trained killer, but for a cornerback he is more than good enough. He has definitely shown the ability to step up and make the clutch play in tight man-to-man and zone coverage, but has struggled to do so in off coverage. His overall production has been very good in tight man-to-man, good in zone coverage and run support and barely adequate in off coverage. The thing that limits his overall production is his consistency -- he does not straight backpedal and tends to do a side-pedal which causes him to get turned around too often and he allows receivers with less athleticism than him to get separation in routes. He needs to greatly improve his footwork/backpedal and technique in order to greatly improve his consistency on the field. He has displayed very good pride and team commitment with his consistent effort in run support and play on special teams.

    Toughness Clutch Play Production Consistency Team Player Pride/Quit
    6.5 6.0 6.0 6.0 6.5 6.5



    MENTAL ALERTNESS Section Grade: 5.5
    Hill displays good smarts at times, but it's a concern that his backpedal is raw and that he uses bad tackling technique too often. He has good instincts reading the pass, but his backpedal hinders his ability to transition and react quickly on a consistent basis. However, when he has his back to the quarterback downfield in tight man-to-man coverage, he shows excellent instincts and reacts to the ball very well to break up passes consistently. His concentration tends to waver when he plays off the ball in man-to-man coverage, and he struggles to consistently close on the ball and allows lesser athletes to catch passes against him.

    Learn/Retain Instincts/Reactions Concentration
    5.5 5.5 5.5



    STRENGTH/EXPLOSION Section Grade: 5.5
    Hill is shorter than ideal at barely over 5-9 and 180 pounds, and will have trouble dealing with big NFL receivers because of it. He has been a durable cornerback at Clemson and has the athleticism and toughness to be durable in the NFL, but his size is always going to hinder his ability to hold up physically long term. He is a very naturally explosive athlete, but he needs to improve his footwork/technique in order to display his explosiveness on the field. Even though he is tough and willing to tackle big ball carriers, his lack of size and tendency to tackle up high hinders his ability to play strong.

    Body Type Durability Explosion Play Strength
    4.0 5.5 6.5 4.5

  7. #7
    majorram's Avatar
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    like this pick and we get an extra 3 rounder out of it!!!


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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    I hear what people are saying about his speed and jumping ability but he's still another short corner

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  9. #9
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    Great pick.
    RamsFan16

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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce4life
    i like the pick a lot.... the only knack i have on him is that is small like our other corners fischer, butler, etc...
    yes but dont forget that the kid can jump! he has a 41 1/2 inch vertical:clanram:

  11. #11
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    Wink Hat's Off to draftNick!!

    Amazing guess on how the Rams pick!!! I never would have guessed in a million. I hope this 5'9' CB pans out. He looks good on tape.

    Good job on the other questionable picks that you got too!!!

    :up:

  12. #12
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    HOw tall was darrell green? The size doesnt bother me, remember, we were picking 15, not top 5. This is an excellent move in my view. I dont see how we can judge greenway vs. hill or hill plus the 68 vs. bunkley. Leave it to the front office and the new coaches to decide. we are not experts, despite what we all think. With the excpetion of nick of course, and he is fine with the pick. Best pure cover corner in the draft picking at 15. Sounds good to me.

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  13. #13
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    Smart move to go down a few picks and get the same guy. I feel they could have went lower but whatever!
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    Great move and a great pick. Bartell can move to Safety with Hill and Butler as our starters in a season or two. I like it.
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    Re: With the 15th overall pick, the St. Louis Rams select Tye Hill, CB, Clemson

    NFL Draft Countdown's Scott Wright on the Tye Hill pick:

    This was a good pick for the Rams and it's where Hill deserves to go. I really like this guy and he reminds me of Antoine Winfield in that he doesn't have great size but plays like someone who is much bigger. The Rams really needed a great cornerback and Hill can be that guy, although I am not sure Cromartie wouldn't have been a better option because he is taller and has a much higher upside.
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