2015 Steelers NFL Mock Draft: 7 Rounds v14.0
Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Antonio Brown is the best wide receiver in the NFL. As terrific as that is for the Steelers, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton form one of the best young duos of #2 and #3 receivers in the league as well. Yet behind their tremendous triumvirate, there is not much in terms of developmental depth for Pittsburgh’s offense.
Lance Moore has already been released, Justin Brown is in Buffalo and Darrius Heyward-Bey is still a question mark. Acquiring a late round wide receiver, even with a stacked depth chart, has worked for this franchise in the past. Thus, I can see a high risk-high reward receiver like Austin Hill of Arizona being an option in the sixth round of the draft.
Hill burst on the scene for the Wildcats in 2012 as a sophomore with an incredibly productive season when he emerged as quarterback Matt Scott’s most reliable and favorite target. Overall, Hill racked up 81 catches and 1,364 receiving yards to go along with his 11 touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Hill, the 2013 and 2014 seasons were not nearly as kind to him as his breakout 2012 campaign. A knee injury caused him to miss the entirety of the year in 2013, and a glut of talented wide receivers (keep an eye on Cayleb Jones next year) crippled Hill’s productivity last fall during his senior campaign (2014:49 cacthes, 635, 4 TDs).
While Hill does not possess the type of straight-line, blazing speed to become a legitimate deep threat at the professional level and did not face large amounts of press coverage, there is still plenty to like about his game if he can stay healthy. Hill might be a larger-framed (6’3″ 212 lbs.) wide receiver, but he did his best damage as a slot receiver and outside the numbers in Arizona’s spread offense. Hill has a wide catch-radius, can high-point the ball, has good hands and should develop into a dangerous receiver on short and intermediate routes in three-to-four wide packages.
If Hill can clean up areas of his game such as his route-running (rounding off & not getting out of his breaks quickly) and blocking, then he could turn into another late-round success story at the wide receiver position for the Steelers. While Hill’s injury history and lack of productivity as a senior are definite questions, he has the ability develop into a solid and reliable ancillary weapon at the professional level.
Next: Round 6