Green Bay Packers: A Look at RB Kylin Hill & What he Adds to Offense

STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 21: Running back Kylin Hill #8 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs during their game Kentucky Wildcats at Davis Wade Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 21: Running back Kylin Hill #8 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs during their game Kentucky Wildcats at Davis Wade Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) /

As good as the Green Bay Packers running back situation is with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, I was going to be surprised if they didn’t select a running back in this year’s draft. The RB3 role is wide open entering training camp, and as Matt LaFleur discussed prior to the 2020 draft, he’d like to utilize a third running back more often to provide Jones and Jamaal Williams — RB1 and RB2 at the time — with some reprieve. It’s safe to assume that LaFleur still has that same mentality.

Competing for that RB3 role will be Mike Weber, an accomplished back from Ohio State who spent 2020 on the practice squad. 2020 UDFA Patrick Taylor, who essentially had a “redshirt” year recovering from offseason foot surgery. Along with former sixth-rounder Dexter Williams, who is still looking to gain the trust of the coaching staff.

Now joining that trio is the Green Bay Packers’ seventh-round selection, Kylin Hill from Mississippi State.

Hill is a very well-rounded back, being effective both in the run game and as a pass-catcher. Hill appeared in only three games in 2020 after serving a one-game suspension and then deciding to opt-out. The year before, however, Hill put up huge numbers.

In 2019, Hill tallied 1,348 rushing yards at 5.5 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns. He also posted a whopping 40 runs of 10+ yards, which was the 13th most among all running backs that season.

As evidenced by his 2019 season, Hill was a big play waiting to happen, and that was also true in 2017 and 2018 when his role was a bit smaller. On 117 attempts in 2018, Hill tan for 734 yards at 6.3 yards per rush with four touchdowns. The year before, he averaged 5.0 yards per carry on 78 attempts and found the end zone twice.

In addition to his gaudy numbers on the ground, as I mentioned above, Hill was also a productive pass catcher. Over his career, he was targeted 83 times, with at least 23 targets in each of his final three seasons, and caught nearly 81% of those passes at 9.4 yards per catch with six touchdown receptions.

While most of that damage came out of the backfield, Hill does have 55 career snaps from the slot—a skill-set that is important for running backs to have in the  LaFleur offense.

Speaking of the LaFleur offense, one area where Hill will have to improve is in pass protection. He has graded very poorly in that category over his career, according to PFF ($$), and as we’ve seen, both Jones and Williams have been active participants as pass-blockers—and both pretty good ones as well.

Now, not that this will be the case with Hill, but struggling in pass-protection is one reason, along with others, why Dexter Williams has primarily been a practice squad player during his tenure.

From an athletic standpoint, Hill measures in at 5’10” and weighs 214 pounds. According to the RAS table, his 4.57 40-yard dash time is considered “good” and slightly above average. However, his shuttle time of 4.35 seconds and his 3-cone of 7.2 seconds are both considered to be “poor.”

For more on Hill’s game and what he offers the Green Bay Packers’ offense, here is what a few draft analysts have had to say:

Jordan Reid – The Draft Network

"“Hill is a maturely built rusher that can have a lasting impact as both a rusher and pass-catcher out of the backfield. His body structure comes into play on runs as he has well above-average contact balance. His ability to withstand would-be tacklers is one of the bigger assets to his game overall. Hill doesn’t contain many different speed levels, as he hardly ever will be a running back that produces explosive plays in bunches.Hill is a running back prospect that can be aligned at various spots in formations and be utilized in those certain spots. Best in a zone-blocking scheme, he’s a runner that can get upfield to take advantage of creases that are made available to him. His density enables him to churn out tough yardage and finish carries with lots of intensity.”"

Lance Zierlein –

"“One-note, downhill back who can leverage and unlock impressive power into opposing tacklers. Most of his evaluation requires 2019 tape as he never got going in Mike Leach’s offense in 2020. Hill has a ground gaining jump-cut with adequate ability to elude second-level tacklers, but his primary mode of operation is to run with force and create with power. He’s a grinder who lacks burst and vision to slash and create chunk runs, but could offer a change-of-pace banger and short-yardage option with some third-down value.”"

Tony Pauline – Pro Football Network

"“Positives: Versatile ball carrier who had a topsy-turvy last two seasons. Patient, waits for blocks to develop, and has a burst through the hole. Quick-footed, will pick and choose his spots on the inside, and squeezes through the small openings of the offensive line.Immediately turns upfield, runs north and south, and works to pick up as much yardage as possible. Displays outstanding blocking vision, sees the blitz, and squares into opponents. Solid pass catcher out of the backfield who can adjust to the errant throw.Negatives: Not a truly creative ball carrier who makes defenders miss. Cannot beat defenders into the open field.Analysis: After initially declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft, Hill returned to Mississippi State last season then left the program midway through the campaign. He’s a nice-sized ball carrier with the skill to be a rotational back and occasional starter on Sundays.”"

Pro Football Focus ($$)

"“Hill only played in three games this past season, but he likely helped his draft stock with what he showed as a receiver. He caught 23 balls over that span for 234 yards with only one drop and eight broken tackles. He’s been consistently elusive throughout his career, so seeing him consisently haul in passes in space is a plus. The question marks with Hill still revolve around his freelance running style — bouncing out runs and getting lateral to the line of scrimmage. Those are no-nos in the league.”"