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2018 NFL free agency: Patriots bring in Bengals RB Jeremy Hill for a visit

The Patriots are looking at the former lead back for the Bengals to help their RB rotation.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals
Jeremy Hill fizzled out in Cincinnati, but it looks like Belichick is looking to find that old magic that made him a good runner at LSU and as a rookie.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Hill was a sensation his rookie year for the Bengals back in 2014 as part of the Bengals run of 1 and dones to start the decade. Over his first two seasons, Hill scored 20 rushing touchdowns and 21 total touchdowns overall. However, a ill-timed fumble in the division round that led to the worst playoff choke at the time seemed to get the ball rolling against Hill. Hill struggled to repeat the success and fell out of favor with the Bengals coaching staff. However, I don’t see that as too much a detriment since Marvin Lewis should have been fired years ago, but I digress.

The Patriots tried to use Mike Gillislee as their workhorse back at the start of the previous season before settling on Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead. Gillislee is still with the team now and I think he could contribute provided that the Patriots put in better positions to succeed this time. At the same time, the Patriots should add more physicality to their RB corps. Gillislee has average athleticism and solid field vision, but he’s nothing special if you’re talking about the lead RB of a committee.

Hill is more of a bruiser, downhill type runner that profiles more like Antowain Smith and LeGarrette Blount. With Burkhead and James White primarily seeing their time in the passing game although Burkhead will get plenty of carries himself, the Patriots could use that type of runner. I was mostly expecting NE to sit at the position and look for that player in the draft, but apparently they’re looking at free agency to solve that issue.

The visit makes since if Belichick is looking to add a bruiser to his talented set of RBs. Hill had season-ending ankle surgery in November, which the Bengals coaching staff frowned upon, after playing just 7 games last season so the Patriots will have to get that checked out before signing him.

Belichick has always liked having that hammer in the running game. The big RB has always been a part of Belichick’s stable in the RB by committee approach. Antowain Smith, Corey Dillon, Sammy Morris, and LeGarrette Blount were all that bruiser, wear you down type runner and the Patriots had a lot of success with those guys before. If the Patriots land Hill in free agency, it should be interesting to see how they approach the position in training camp.