Former Ohio State receiver KJ Hill was projected as a mid-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft yet lasted until Round 7 when the LA Chargers selected him. Here are Hill’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Chargers’ over/under win total.
The Bolts took Hill with the No. 220 overall pick in the draft – their last pick. The Chargers weren’t anticipating selecting a wide receiver in the seventh-round having already taken a wideout two rounds before that (Joe Reed). But a player like Hill was too hard to pass up on.
Throughout the pre-draft process, Hill was tabbed as a high-upside mid-round pick, but an underwhelming 40-yard dash time at the combine pushed him down in a deep wide receiver class.
“Every receiver that got picked before me, watching it, seeing it happen. I’m just taking that as fuel and putting that in the back of my head and remembering it every time I’m on the field, and remembering where I got picked and the guys that got picked before me,” Hill said.
Hill played at North Little Rock High School and committed to Ohio State over Alabama and Arkansas, among others. Hill had verbally committed to Arkansas in August 2014, but changed his commitment following the departure of Arkansas’ offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.
In 2015, Hill redshirted at OSU. In 2016, he had 18 catches for more than 250 yards and one touchdown in 2016. Hill led Ohio State receivers (10 or more catches) with a 14.6 yards-per-reception average. He played in 11 of 13 games in 2016, missing two with an ankle injury.
As a sophomore in 2017, Hill led the team in receptions with 56 and was second in yards with 549. During a game vs. Penn State, Hill had a career-best 12 receptions, which was the fourth-highest total in school history. In 2018, Hill was even better in catching 70 balls for 885 yards and six scores.
Hill thought about turning pro after that but opted to return for his senior season and caught 57 balls for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 201 career receptions at first overall at the school. He finished sixth in OSU history with 2,332 career receiving yards and caught 20 touchdown passes. Hill was the receiver in school history with three years of 50-or-more receptions and caught a pass in 48 consecutive games to tie Gary Williams for the school record. Hill also is a good punt returner.
Hill, a co-captain as a senior, won three consecutive Big Ten championships with Ohio State from 2017-2019. He logged three 100-yard games in college, including nine catches, 187 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota in 2018.
Hill wouldn’t have made the record books if it wasn’t for the advice of Buckeyes legendary wideout Cris Carter. Carter persuaded Hill to stay in college for his senior season rather than making the leap to the NFL.
“I think sometimes when you’re in pursuit of an NFL career, you lose sight of what you went to college for. I also believe that there are skills that he could show in his senior year that would give him potential to have a longer career,” Carter said.
Primarily a slot receiver (93% in 2019), Hill averaged an ugly 8.7 yards per target but caught 76% of balls thrown his way during his four seasons. Hill (6-foot, 196 pounds) has good hands (10 drops on 269 career targets) and is quality route runner but lacks speed (4.60 40-yard dash) and post-catch prowess.
Keenan Allen is the clear-cut top wideout with the Chargers, and he’s trailed by wide receiver Mike Williams, tight end Hunter Henry, and running back Austin Ekeler among the pass catchers. So it could be tough for Hill to get many touches as a rookie.