Reading Tea Leaves: Hills’ First Team Snaps

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Jan 1, 2014; Tampa, Fl, USA; LSU Tigers running back Jeremy Hill (33) reacts and celebrates after he scored a touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. LSU Tigers defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bengals selected LSU running back Jeremy Hill at 55 overall in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft, many fans reverted to the same confused, bitter-beer face exhibited in 2013 when the Bengals selected Tyler Eifert.  While indeed similar in situation, Hill joined last year’s exceptional rookie phenom, Giovanni Bernard and touted veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis in a rugged hydra of running backs.  Speculation surrounding his future utilization in Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson was abound, ranging from limited goal-line employment to being a starter with an all-but-guaranteed roster spot.  The latter seemed all but confirmed as OTAs started this month as Hill was seen taking the majority of snaps with the first team.

ESPN’s Coley Harvey seems to think that this is a sign of what has to come, stating:

"So far, Hill has gotten his share of hand-offs with the first-team unit alongside Bernard.  The two have been in the backfield at the same time, in addition to trading roles as the lone back in single-back sets that get called.  It’s left veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis a little bit out of the starting picture.  Green-Ellis has gotten his opportunities to work in Cincinnati’s running back rotation, one that includes Rex Burkhead and Cedric Peerman, but it’s clear Hill and Bernard are trending toward being the top tandem in the Bengals’ backfield."

Does this signal the departure of the Law Firm and the immediate ascension of Jeremy Hill?