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2020 NFL Draft: Ohio State WR K.J. Hill has an NFL-ready skill set in the slot

K.J. Hill does not have the kind of speed or physicality that would lead you to believe that he is ever going to excel as anything other than a slot receiver.

His 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump all came in at below the 40th percentile for the position in Indianapolis. He also stands at just 5-foot-11 with just over 29-inch arms, so he doesn’t have the world’s biggest catch radius, either. Those are Hill’s limiting factors at the NFL level, and they are the reason we have him at WR15 in this loaded class.

[Editor’s note: Check out PFF’s 2020 Mock Draft HubNFL Draft Big Board and NFL Mock Draft Simulator. PFF Elite subscribers can also download the 1,100-page 2020 NFL Draft Guide.]

That doesn’t mean there is no place for him in the NFL, though. Instead, there is a specific role where Hill is well-positioned to succeed — and that role is slot receiver, where he should see a heavy dose of underneath routes.

The proficiency and skill set he showed while playing in the slot at Ohio State already shows signs of NFL polish, and that gives him a relatively high floor as a prospect.

K.J. Hill: Slot percentage by year at Ohio State
Year Total routes Routes in slot % of routes in slot
2016 98 95 97%
2017 284 268 94%
2018 324 302 93%
2019 359 345 96%

Hill lived in the slot in Columbus. He ran over 90% of his routes from the inside in each of his four years with the Buckeyes, topping out at 345 routes from the slot this past season.

On a related note, he also enters the draft as one of the most productive slot receivers in the class. Hill’s 182 slot receptions in total since 2016 rank first among Power 5 receivers in this class, as do his 2,173 slot receiving yards. Extending that out to all FBS wide receivers, his yardage mark from the slot falls third behind only SMU’s James Proche and Middle Tennessee’s Ty Lee. 

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