If reports out of Indianapolis paint an accurate picture, the New England Patriots have so far met with at least nine of the wide receiver prospects present at this year’s scouting combine. One of them was Ohio State wideout K.J. Hill, who talked to reporters on Tuesday about a wide range of topics — from preparing for the draft to being used all over the formation — and along the way also confirmed that he had a meeting with the team.
“I definitely met with the Patriots,” the 22-year-old told reporters (via NESN). “It went well. Mainly, we were talking about plays. I did a lot of things similar [to] their offense, and they were just trying to pick my brain about what we did. And come to find out, it was mostly the same plays. Motioning, seeing if it was man or zone, using option routes. Definitely what [Julian Edelman was doing. I was talking to the receivers coach about that.”
Hill pointed out that the coach he mentioned was Troy Brown — an interesting observation considering that the Patriots have no wide receivers coach listed at the moment after the last man to fill that role, Joe Judge, left the club earlier this offseason to take over as the New York Giants’ head coach. Brown, who was no official member of New England’s staff last year but still worked with the wideouts, is a prime candidate to succeed Judge.
As for Hill, he certainly projects to be on the Patriots’ radar this spring due to his production in college: despite working with four different starting quarterbacks, he caught a school-record 201 passes for 2,332 yards and 20 touchdowns in four non-redshirt seasons at Ohio State. A strong route runner whose quickness could make him a productive player at the next level, Hill pointed out that he felt strongly about being a plug-and-play receiver.
“I definitely can, just off the fact that we were doing the same things,” he said when asked whether he felt confident in his ability to play a prominent role in the Patriots’ offense right away. “I feel like I could step right in. Whatever they wanted me to do, special teams and at receiver. [...] You can plug me anywhere. I don’t have to be stuck in the slot and only come in on this play or this package. A lot of teams have been talking about using me everywhere.”
If drafted by the Patriots, Hill — a player projected to come off the board in one of the middle rounds of the draft — would add even more youth to the team’s wide receiver position a year after it already invested the 32nd overall pick in N’Keal Harry. The 5-foot-11 pass catcher would furthermore give New England a developmental option to groom behind the aforementioned Julian Edelman, who will be 34 once the 2020 season opens.