Mike Tannenbaum had a few successful trades, but he also had a few horrid ones. For as bad as the Mark Sanchez draft day trade looks now, the Jets still got two AFC Championship runs in return.
One Tannenbaum trade that looks to be the most haunting includes Georgia Tech wide receiver, Stephen Hill.
In the 2012 draft, the Jets moved up five spots, giving up a fifth and seventh round selection to the Seattle Seahawks.
Although this didn’t mortgage the Jets future, they jumped the gun for a receiver who hasn’t produced like many who were available at the time, most notably Chicago Bears standout, Alshon Jeffery.
This trade didn’t have to do with what they gave up but rather whom they decided to use the selection on.
They selected an ACC receiver who had a grand total of 49 receptions through three seasons. Hill averaged 25.5 yards per reception, which may have shown big play potential, but he came from an offense that didn’t value the passing game. Georgia Tech runs an unorthodox option-heavy offense, one that is far from considered NFL ready.
Hill was the definition of a raw player, but the Jets were going for a grand slam.
Two years later, Hill has accumulated 45 receptions for 594 yards and four touchdowns (two touchdowns and 89 yards came during his first career game). Those numbers would look a lot better if not for his catching woes. That’s right- Hill was known for consistently dropping the ball coming out of school. He was a receiver with big-play potential, but was considered far from a consistent playmaker.
Going into his first NFL training camp, it was apparent Stephen Hill had to learn the basics of running an NFL route, let alone actually catching the ball. Two years as a Jet, and Hill has been their most un-reliable receiver. One of his worst mishaps is one many Jets fan’s won’t forget- A what would’ve been third down conversion inside the New England Patriots 20 yard-line down three with just over two minutes remaining in the game during the 2012 season. Again against the Patriots, Hill was responsible for a costly fumble in the 2013 season.
Stephen Hill was supposed to be relied upon with the Jets going through a team overhaul when he was drafted. Of course he shouldn’t have been expected to make an impact as a rookie, but his sophomore season showed no improvement. Hill’s track record doesn’t get any better with two consecutive years on the injured reserve list while missing seven games.
With the addition of Eric Decker, the emergence of Jeremy Kerley, the draft selection of Jace Amaro and a crowded, but somewhat potentially deep depth chart of wide receivers including David Nelson, Greg Salas, Clyde Gates, and Jacoby Ford, Hill is on the clock. The Jets were forced to hope Hill would step up in year two, and many wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because of his raw label.
This time around, the Jets won’t lose sleep without Hill on the field against the Oakland Raiders.
Through training camp and two pre-season games, Hill hasn’t appeared to prove that he belongs out there with the starters, let alone the final roster. In just a couple of weeks, the Jets may have to cut ties with another Tannenbaum project, but until then, the team is giving Stephen Hill every chance to prove that he’s not another bust.