As the 2012 NFL Draft edges closer and closer, the stock of prospects who perform well in workouts are going to climb higher and higher. Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech is the latest to enjoy a soaring stock and he lands near the end of the first round in the latest mock drafts from both Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN. Both have the San Francisco 49ers adding Hill to help Alex Smith with another vertical target in the passing game. Kiper writes:
Hill set Indy ablaze, going sub-4.4 in the 40 while measuring 6-foot-4. San Francisco, meet the deep threat you've been looking for. It's no secret the 49ers need more out of their wide receivers, and Hill brings a new aspect to the table, with elite size and track speed to stretch defenses both for himself, and to open up things underneath. He'll need an adjustment period as he gets used to a more conventional offense, but some team is going to fall in love with the measurables.
McShay agrees with Kiper on this late selection and notes that it is as much about team need as it is about Hill's rave reviews:
This is a big high for a raw prospect like Hill, but with the Patriots and so many other teams looking for size and the ability to stretch the field it won't surprise me to see him off the board this early. Hill (6-4, 215) showed flashes of his big-play ability in 2011 (28 catches, 820 yards), and he had one of the best combine workouts I've ever seen from a wide receiver. The 49ers have a bigger need at cornerback, but with Josh Morgan and Ted Ginn headed for free agency they could be left with Michael Crabtree and a whole lot of nothing at receiver when draft day rolls around.
Depending on various pro days going forward, Hill could continue to climb higher in the first round if Kendall Wright of Baylor continues to fall with unimpressive times.