With Eric Decker stepping in as the Jets' No. 1 receiver upon his signing in March, eyes quickly shifted to who would be his running mate at wideout. David Nelson is close, but at this point it is Stephen Hill's job to lose.
Selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, there were high hopes for Hill among a class of talented receivers. The Georgia Tech product was chosen two picks before Pro Bowler Alshon Jeffery, who caught 89 passes for 1,421 yards last season. T.Y Hilton, who tallied 82 catches for 1,083 yards for the Colts in his second year, went 49 picks later. Hill's impact in his first two seasons? A measly 45 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns as he concluded both season on injured reserve, missing nine games total.
But perhaps it's the 23-year-old's time to shine. He has impressed in training camp of late, outdueling cornerback Dee Milliner for two touchdown grabs on Friday, including a 60-yard score. In Saturday's Green and White scrimmage, Geno Smith hit Hill for a 41-yard gain, one of the few highlights for an offense that managed just two field goals in 12 possessions.
With knee injuries in the rearview mirror (for now at least), the athlete has an opportunity to show the Jets he isn't a bust, and he'd better take it.
"Every day, I feel like it's my last day," Hill told reporters Friday. "So, I come out here and that's how I have to play. Nothing is guaranteed in this league."