The Jackson Factor – Part I: King of the Hill

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Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running backs coach Hue Jackson before the 2013 AFC wild card playoff football game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals second round selection of LSU running back Jeremy Hill caused considerable confusion among the striped masses.  Indeed, for a team that doubled-down on running backs with Giovanni Bernard and Rex Burkhead in last year’s draft, the pick seemed like a waste at face value.  Hill is a brawling, downhill runner whom draftnik pundits hailed in hipshot manner as the future replacement of the Law Firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis.  But if the draft showed us anything about the Bengals, it was that OC Hue Jackson’s priorities for this offense are not the same as his predecessor Jay Gruden… and for most Bengals fans, the change is welcomed.

Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; LSU Tigers running back Jeremy Hill (33) runs past Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Louis Trinca-Pasat (90) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At 6’1”, 233 lbs, Hill is comparable in size to his contemporary, running back Carlos Hyde from Ohio State.  To be sure, Hill has minimum 10 lbs and 2” on any running back currently on Cincinnati’s roster.  However, while size matters and scouting reports indicate greater strength between the tackles, Hill ultimately fails to see angles or provide any additional speed burst than that which BJGE already offers.  Certainly, this may afford an upgrade in goal-line situations where both Green-Ellis and Bernard have struggled, but does it warrant the 55th overall pick?