Slippery Rock University running back Wes Hills is set to be the 6th player drafted into the NFL from his alma mater, and the Bears could be the team to make it happen.
The 2019 NFL Draft seems to have more small-school players than usual, with Hills being one of them. Hills racked up the stats during his 2018 season at Slippery Rock finishing with 1714 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Hills would fit Matt Nagy’s scheme with the Bears much better than Jordan Howard did. He proved he can run in between the tackles but still has the ability to bounce outside to make a big play. Hills also runs extremely hard and falls forward while being tackled to make sure he gets every yard possible. With some experience playing against NFL talent, Hills could turn into the back Chicago needs to play along side Tarik Cohen.
He is a fairly large back at 6’2″ and 218 pounds. Hills’s size makes him very difficult to bring down with a single defender. In fact, he reminds me of a smaller version of Titans running back Derrick Henry, one of the most difficult players to tackle in the NFL today. I would be very interested to see how Nagy uses Hills’s size to his advantage.
He has a physical, full-body runing style. Often, you see players dancing around trying to make moves with their feet, With Hills, you get a more unorthodox style. Hills uses his whole body to run, not just his feet and legs. when you watch his film you see his shoulders being pushed forward and his arms pumping a fast as he is running. He strides out his steps which also helps him fall forward for extra yards.
He is pretty quick and nimble for his size. Hills runs hard, but he also knows when to try to put the moves on someone. most of his moves are quick little cuts that give him time to speed up and gain yards.
He didn’t do much pass-catching at Slippery Rock. He tallied 193 yards on 28 catches. It looked like the team strictly wanted him taking hand-offs. I’m not sure if this is because he isn’t great at catching or the fact that his rushing abilities was the main point of the offense.
He played at a Division-II against lower-level talent. Never in my life would I disregard an athlete because they played at a small school. I believe small school athletes have some of the best stories when they make it to the big leagues, but when you are drafting a player, you do have to look into the type of competition he battled with.
In college, He played against schools like Mercyhurst University and Gannon University. Once again, I am not trying to discount the work these student athletes put in but do you believe these teams have a dominant defensive player like Aaron Donald, Luke Kuechly, or Khalil Mack? To me, this is the biggest risk on Wes Hills.
I would love to see what Hills can do in a system where he is not the focus of every play. Having other backs for whom the defense will have to pay attention such as Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen could open up the field enough for him to be a great player.
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