Should the Browns take a look at Stephen Hill?

As the Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver issues continue into the fourth week of the preseason, one interesting name is bubbling up in the NFL trade rumor mill in the New York Jets’ Stephen Hill. ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini believes the Jets should and will try and trade Hill, with the player potentially being a roster casualty if a deal is not consummated.

The disappointing wide receiver is expected to play Thursday night in the final preseason game, a clear indication his roster spot is in jeopardy. Starters and key reserves don’t play in the annual Backup Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles. Hill was granted that status is his first two years, when he was a big-shot, second-round pick with a bright future. Now he’ll be grinding with the other marginal players, trying to convince the Jets — or another team — he still can be a legit player in the league.

Ex-Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum made Hill—a player who many Browns fans coveted over their eventual second-round pick in tackle Mitchell Schwartz1—the 43rd overall pick in the 2012 draft and traded up to do so. He has since missed nine games in two seasons, and has just 45 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns.

The Jets and Browns do not exactly have the best relationship at this point following comments made by head coach Mike Pettine. It’s also believed that New York (while not exactly being the model franchise for offense) is looking to move Hill for a cornerback though a late pick would be more likely. Hill should not cost more than a late-round pick, and he has all the measurables, boasting a 6-foot-4-inch, 215-pound frame with 4.36 speed. Unfortunately for the Jets and Hill, the Georgia Tech product has shown terrible hands and has had a penchant for injuries.

He’s been brutal over the course of his first two seasons, but he’s still young and let’s be honest: The Browns are in no position to be picky when it comes to potential receiving threats.

  1. Alshon Jeffrey, in hindsight, wouldn’t have been a bad move, eh? []
  • Sam Gold

    Is Brian Robiskie still available…?

  • Natedawg86

    Why would we want a WR with terrible hands?

  • scripty


  • MrCleaveland

    That’s right. World-class eye speed. Outstanding wrist flexion. Very low rib-to-sternum index. He’s got the whole package.

  • Harv 21

    One day he’ll stay healthy and be Greg Little.

  • Harv 21

    Speaking of whom, Greg Little suddenly doesn’t look so bad. Maybe Browns can re-acquire him to coincide with the Anti-Nausea Medication Giveaway game.

  • Harv 21

    just get me a receiver who can play. Forget his package.

  • BenRM

    Man, Hill is terrible, but yes. Our WRs are so bad that Hill is probably an upgrade.

  • Chris Mc

    It’s not uncommon for wide receivers to get it together in their third year and turn into at least serviceable receivers. However, that usually has more to do with route running and getting open than correcting bad hands and injuries.

    Given the state of the current corps of wide receivers the Browns have, I don’t think a 6th round pick (conditional 5th maybe?) would be an outlandish offer for a guy with Hill’s physical attributes. Maybe a change of scenery would wake him up.

  • nj0

    Why trade for a player who is going to be a roster casualty?

  • Brian Cooperider

    6th rounder makes him yours before he gets cut. If he was cut and received offers from 2-3 teams he is probably not going to pick Cleveland over any other team.

    6th rounder is cost of making certain he become a Brown.

  • mgbode

    disagree. he accepts a deal with most teams, then he is going to fight all season long just to stay on the active 45man roster.

    he accepts a deal with the Browns, then he might be expected to start. at this point, he is a complete bust (never liked him and do NOT think we should sign him), so he needs to be going for opportunity above all else,.

  • saggy

    agree. I wouldn’t want to pay the premium just to “make sure he’s a Brown,” because there are 43 other guys who have been as good or better than Hill over the last 2 years.

  • Woods

    Wait for the cutdown to 53 players to find a young WR that was rated highly by the scouts, or better yet, a veteran WR that was cut so a team can keep a young WR.

    Bonus points for familiarity with Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme. I will be casually looking to see who gets cut by Houston and Washington.

    I really liked Hill coming out of Georgia Tech. He can block and has blazing speed. It is apparent in his performance that he is having trouble adjusting to the complexity of an NFL offense after playing in the primitive GT option offense.

    I am willing to bet that Farmer, Pettine, Shanahan and all the pro scouts have a plan of action in place and are waiting for the final cuts to add up to two WR spots.

    Notwithstanding the drivel I just wrote, if McFadden is not in our plans at CB for the future, them why not try to make a deal. Realistically, I see the Browns trade a DL for a WR when final cuts are made.

  • Brian Cooperider

    I understand what you’re saying. I was just answering a question as to why you would send over a 6th for a guy about to get cut. It is to make sure he is a Brown. That’s why.
    I’m not saying it’s a wise move or not a wise move. However I will say, you can’t know what motivates a player to choose one team over another. So just assuming he will pick the Browns because “opportunity” doesn’t mean he views it that way.
    So yes, it might actually be wise to spend a 6th rounder for the certainty, IF your staff sees some value in the guy.
    Because, I mean, what’s a 6th anyway…just a possible Tom Brady right.