Most Intriguing Seahawks: No. 19, DT Jordan Hill
Each day until the start of training camp, “Brock and Salk” is talking with an NFL analyst and counting down the 25 most intriguing players on the Seahawks’ roster. “Two-a-days” continued with ESPN’s Mike Golic as the guest and Jordan Hill as the 19th-most intriguing Seahawk. The segment on Hill is embedded above. My thoughts are below.
• Position: DT
• Height/Weight: 6-1, 290
• Experience: Fourth season
• Acquired: Third-round pick, 2013
Overview: Brock Huard and Mike Salk had an apt description of Hill, which is that he’s become something of a forgotten man among Seattle’s defensive linemen. For one, he’s coming off a down season in which he missed six games due to injuries – a recurring issue over his three years in the NFL – and didn’t make much of an impact when he was on the field. Consider everything else that’s happened with that position group: Seattle traded up in the second and fifth rounds of the draft in April to add a pair of defensive tackles, Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson. The Seahawks gave Ahtyba Rubin a new deal and brought back Chris Clemons. Michael Bennett is coming off the best season of his career and Cliff Avril is returning to start opposite him. Frank Clark is in line for a bigger role than the one he had as a rookie last year. It’s been easy to lose sight of Hill, but the Seahawks have him in a good spot. He’s healthy and should be plenty motivated as he enters the final year of his contract, especially with Seattle having spent significant draft capital on a pair of players at his position.
The intrigue: Can Hill be the player he was in the second half of the 2014 season? That was the one stretch in Hill’s three seasons in which he has been what the Seahawks drafted him to be, which is a disruptive interior pass-rusher. Over the final eight games, Hill recorded 5.5 sacks, 15 tackles and one incredible interception. Was that a flash in the pan or an example of what Hill can be during what for him have been fleeting stretches of health? He didn’t do much as a rookie in 2013, when he missed the first four games with an injury and was inactive for much of the season. He didn’t do much in the first half of the 2014 season, either, when he was hurt for three of the first eight games. Hill was also sidelined for the postseason that year. He missed six games with a pair of injuries last season and didn’t record a sack in the 10 games he played. Excluding Bennett, who starts at end and moves inside in passing situations, the Seahawks haven’t had consistent production in recent seasons from their interior pass-rushers. Hill is the only one on Seattle’s roster who has shown he can do it, albeit for only half a season.
2016 outlook: First thing’s first: Hill will have to make the team. Seattle usually keeps four or five defensive tackles, which means Hill could be competing with Jefferson and free-agent addition Sealver Siliga for one of the final spots behind projected starters Rubin and Reed. If he does make the team, Hill’s best chance to make an impact and in turn a nice payday in free agency will be in nickel situations, where he’ll try to replicate what he did in the second half of the 2014 season.