B.J. Hill solidifies Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive line
The Cincinnati Bengals‘ front office was active Monday afternoon, trading the former first-round center Billy Price to the New York Giants for the defensive lineman B.J. Hill.
Hill was New York’s third-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft out of North Carolina State. Throughout Hill’s career, he has primarily played defensive tackle, which will bring depth to the Bengals’ roster.
This trade just makes so much sense for Cincinnati, as Price was not going to start this year and he was only going to play if Trey Hopkins got hurt. On the other hand, Hill should get consistent snaps all year in Cincinnati’s defensive line rotation.
How B.J. Hill will impact the Cincinnati Bengals
In the 2018 season, Hill had a good rookie season starting in 12 games with 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 14 pressures. Over the last two seasons, Hill’s snap count harshly dropped due to the Giants’ amassing a lot of talent in the interior of the defensive line. Players like Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, and Leonard Williams pushed Hills’ playing time to the side.
Hill was likely going to see an increase in snaps for the Giants this season as their third defensive tackle, but now he calls Cincinnati home. The Bengals needed some depth behind the starting defensive tackles D.J. Reader and Larry Ogunjobi, Hill will give them just that.
While Hill is a backup, he has been good across his three years in the NFL. Hill has posted above-average PFF grades in all three years so far, with grades of 69.1, 75.9, and 73.4. In addition, he excels as a run-stuffer. Perhaps the best trait of Hill’s game is his hustle. Nick Falato of Giants Country went in-depth on Hill’s strong suits,
"Hill is constantly making plays down the field in pursuit because he is always putting himself into position to track the ball carrier down despite how unlikely it is that he’ll make the tackle."
Falato also credited Hill’s ability to shed blocks using his strong, quick hands. Good technique combined with hustle usually means a good defensive tackle. More than likely, Hill will make some standout plays this year for the Bengals.
Aside from Hill’s skill set, this acquisition will help Cincinnati’s defensive end rotation. With the unfortunate injury of Joseph Ossai, the Bengals needed new defensive ends to step up.
Cam Sample had some nice moments in preseason play, he can be moved around the defensive line playing both end and tackle. Sample was likely going to play mostly tackle due to a lack of depth. Now with the addition of Hill, will we see more of Sample playing end? Sample alongside Khalid Kareem and Darius Hodge could end up being solid depth behind Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard at defensive end.
Overall, the acquisition of Hill only fortifies Cincinnati’s defensive line. Hill should be the first defensive tackle off the bench, and lets other defensive linemen play more defensive end. If Hill can be as good as he’s been in the past three seasons, this was a great trade for Cincinnati heading into the 2021 season.