You have to figure new Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden will put an emphasis on running the football, both to set the tone and take pressure off Derek Carr.
It is hard to imagine Gruden wanting to deal with the free-spirited Marshawn Lynch which leaves the Raiders in need of a thumper to go with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. This is also a spot they’d probably like to fill without using a high draft pick or too much cap space.
Enter Jeremy Hill
Hill was sensational as a rookie rushing for 1,124 yards at 5.1 yards per carry to go with nine touchdowns. The following two years his yardage and yards per carry slipped but he found the end zone 11 and nine times, respectively. This past year the wheels came fully off in an injury-plagued year and he only carried it 37 times for 116 yards and zero touchdowns.
Hill is famously or infamously known for his disastrous fumble against the Steelers in the 2015 Wild Card game which cost his team the opportunity to run the clock down to only a few seconds. The Steelers then drove for a game-winning field goal aided by a couple of personal foul penalties. After the game, Hill took full responsibility and put the loss on his shoulders. He notably did not fumble the entire 2016 season after having eight in his first 2 years
The Bengals drafted Joe Mixon last year and still have Giovani Bernard so Hill doesn’t seem to be in their future plans. It’s hard to see too much of a market developing in free agency for Hill which makes him a great “buy low” candidate. He is still only 25 years old and should have plenty of tread on the tires.
Hill is a physical downhill runner who looks to punish defenders. He is excellent in short yardage and goal-line situations. While he’s not quite “Beast Mode” he is one of the harder guys to tackle in the league. He also has decent hands for a thumper so he can contribute a little in the passing game. His pass protection ability is questionable but he should be off the field on any longer yardage third downs.
Obviously, we don’t know how a player will respond coming back from injury but Hill seems motivated to get his career back on track. Hill could definitely be a solid option to spearhead the Raiders rushing attack next season.