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NFL Combine 2012: Stephen Hill, The Next Demaryius Thomas?

Would NFL types be showing this much interest in Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets wide receiver Stephen Hill if not for the pro career of Demaryius Thomas, who also had his biggest collegiate year while playing in a run-option offense? Does the success of Calvin Johnson somehow have anything to do with Hill's prospects (no)? And which team (Oakland) is going to lose it while staring at his size (6'5!) and workout numbers and pull the trigger two rounds too early?

Hill put up only 1,111 yards in two seasons after Thomas left, but nobody's talking about him going in the first two rounds or what have you. If he can run a 4.4 40 like he hopes, he'll indeed be a potential home run threat (basketball term) for some team looking to extend the field. But he's not Thomas, who, other than in one well-remembered game against Georgia, was sure-handed. Hill's capable of ridiculous acrobatics, but he drops way, way too many easy ones.

After most of the NFL critiques of Bay Bay turned out to be the product of over-thinking, you get the feeling some team is going to apply that lesson to Hill just a little too confidently. Thomas played a year in a pro-style college offense, for which he was recruited. He was bigger (220 pounds) as a freshman than Hill is now (215). Not being as prepared for the NFL as Demaryius Thomas was isn't a horrible thing, as Thomas was one of the best players in Tech history, but Hill's going to need to be evaluated as a whole new thing, not as the next Thomas.

For more on Jackets football, visit Georgia Tech blog From The Rumble Seat, plus SB Nation Atlanta.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.