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An old but good article on Hill


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By Nick Wagoner

Senior Writer

Over the course of the past two years, Rams receiver Torry Holt has become something of a draft expert.

So, when it came time for the team to make their first-round selection, No. 11 overall, it’s no surprise that the Rams listened to what Holt had to say when they selected Clemson cornerback Tye Hill.

“Torry, that’s interesting, that’s right, Torry did like Tye,” coach Scott Linehan said.

Of course, the Rams didn’t really allow Holt to make their pick for them and it was probably just a coincidence that the player the Rams chose was the one Holt had been stumping for in the media.

“Torry has influence all the time, but when it came to the pick, we were going to pick our best player, and Torry was going to be happy with whoever we picked,” Linehan said.

While Holt and the Rams were certainly pleased about the selection of Hill, nobody was more excited about becoming a Ram than Hill himself.

“It feels great to be a St. Louis Ram,” Hill said. “It’s where I wanted to go. Once I first visited, I felt very confident in those guys. I’m glad to be a St. Louis Ram.”

That feeling was more than mutual considering that the Rams had Hill ranked as one of the best defensive backs and players on their board. In fact, heading in to Sunday, Linehan said Hill was “right there” with Texas’ Michael Huff, who went seventh overall to Oakland.

The Rams had Hill in for a visit before the draft a couple of weeks ago in an opportunity to get to know him and let him know what would be expected of him. While Hill isn’t exactly the biggest corner in the draft (he’s 5’9, 185 pounds), he has speed to burn.

Hill ran one of the fastest 40-yard dashes at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, clocking in the 4.3s. But Hill says he can and has run it much faster. He claimed he ran a 4.15 his freshman year. Either way, one thing is for sure, Hill will instantly be one of the few corners on the team capable of keeping up with receiver Kevin Curtis in practice.

“He’s probably the best cover corner in the Draft,” Hill said. “Obviously, his speed jumps out at you and his ability to cover. He’s one of those guys that have a very infectious approach. He backs down to no one. That’s what I look at in a corner. The guy has a little bit of; I don’t know if it’s arrogance, but more confidence about his abilities, but not over the top.”

That confidence helped Hill accumulate five interceptions and 35 pass breakups in his time at Clemson. Those numbers might not blow you away, but they become even more impressive considering Hill’s start.

Upon his arrival at Clemson, Hill was a running back. In 2002, he rushed 37 times for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But Hill had defense on his mind and instead of being asked to change positions by the coaching staff, he made the request.

“I went to them and asked to be moved,” Hill said. “I wanted to continue to run track, and at that time I was a running back, and I knew I was going to have to get bigger if I was going to be a running back, and I was still running track. I didn’t want to give up track at the time. Terrence Newman was coming out of the draft that year, and I had seen all the things he had done on the track and on the football field. It made him a better football player. He was a top 10 pick. So I figured If he could do it, I felt like I could do the same thing, and that was my main reason to move to corner.”

In case anyone questions Hill’s speed, his track and field prowess would put those to rest. Hill was at his best in 2003-04, when he won the ACC title in the 60m indoors in a time of 6.73 seconds and a title in the 100m outdoors in a time of 10.29 seconds.

Obviously, there is more to playing cornerback than speed and that’s where a few of the doubts about Hill’s ability come in. Because of his lack of size, Hill isn’t the best tackler in run support, though he has shown a penchant for the big hit.

“He’s outstanding,” Linehan said. “That is where he really came out, his coverage ability and his willingness to come out and tackle and occasionally blitz. He was very good at that, so he had very high marks in that area.”

One area that Hill had no control over in terms of his performance was his size. With receivers such as Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Darrell Jackson to deal with every week, his size would seem to be a concern.

But Hill says he is used to dealing with bigger receivers.

“I’ve been playing against big receivers all my life,” Hill said. “Since I started playing cornerback, big receivers were the people I was playing up against. I don’t see that as a big problem for me.”

Hill will be expected to come in and compete for a starting position right away. The Rams have been plagued by injuries in the secondary in the past few years and are expecting a return for Jerametrius Butler at one spot this year.

After that, there will likely be an open competition between Hill, Travis Fisher, Fakhir Brown, DeJuan Groce and Ron Bartell. That competition would concern many, but Hill doesn’t mind so long as he gets a chance to contribute.

“I feel like I can come in and contribute as much as they want me to,” Hill said. “It’s a learning process. So, I’m actually looking forward to coming in and learning to play the position. I’m behind some veteran corners, and hopefully one day I will gain the starting job.”

As for Holt’s obvious affinity for Hill coming to fruition, Hill said he liked the idea of getting to go against the Pro Bowler in practice.

“My family was telling me that,” Hill said. “I was watching the draft at the time, but they were telling me that he was like ‘this should be the pick.’ I’m glad he’s confident, and that confidence hit me. I can’t wait to get out there and practice with him.”

And while Linehan isn’t exactly ready to turn over the drafting duties to his star receiver, he knows that when it comes to cornerbacks, there are few players in the league who will be a better judge of talent.

“Torry was good,” Linehan said. “He’s kind of getting into that, and I think he knows a pretty good coverage corner when he sees one.”

Will his height be a problem or will he show us why he was a 1st rd pick? I have a problem with short CB's but it

feels different with Hill.(So why do we want to get rid of Grimes so bad)

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Rams | Hill working on increasing his size, strength

Sun, 05 Apr 2009 09:21:00 -0700

Jim Thomas, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reports St. Louis Rams CB Tye Hill is working on increasing his size and strength this offseason. His normal playing weight in the NFL has been between 185 and 190 pounds, but Hill said his weight had dipped into the 170-pound range when his injuries started after his rookie year. Hill said, "One way for me to stay away from these injuries, I feel like, is gain more weight, gain more muscle mass. And that just means me working harder when the lights are not on. You know what I'm saying? When I'm in the weight room. When I'm in the classroom. When I'm back home."

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