B.J. Hill

Giants Notes: Latimer, Receivers, Hill, Stewart

Wide receiver Cody Latimer has had an up and down journey since entering the NFL. He came into the league as a second round pick of the Broncos in 2014, but never really established himself as a receiving threat. He was immediately labeled a bust by fans and media, and was never really able to recover. Latimer was able to stick in Denver by becoming an elite special teams player, excelling on kick coverage units.

This past year, Latimer finally began to catch some passes. After never cracking 100 yards receiving his first three seasons, he racked up 287 last year along with two touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 15.1 yards per catch and parlayed that progress along with his special teams prowess into a one-year $2.5MM contract with the Giants. Now with New York, Latimer has already been making an impression. He’s reportedly done well during offseason workouts, and the Giants’ number three receiving job is now “his to lose” according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com.

Latimer appears to have turned his career around, and looks likely to have the biggest offensive role in his career this upcoming season. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent again this March, and if he shows well for the Giants, he should be able to cash in.

Here’s more from New York:

  • Behind Latimer, the Giants’ receiving situation is less clear, writes Lombardo. He views Russell ShepardKalif Raymond, and Travis Rudolph as all being on the roster bubble, likely fighting for one spot. Whoever shows they can make the biggest impact on special teams may win the three way battle.
  • Defensive lineman B.J. Hill will be starting as a rookie, according to Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com. The third rounder from NC State has reportedly impressed this offseason, and Dunleavy is quite confident he’ll be starting on the outside of the Giants’ 3-4 defense. He calls Hill a “shrewd pick” and adds that while Josh Mauro will “enter the mix” when he returns from suspension, for now it’s Hill’s job.
  • Dunleavy thinks the team wouldn’t have signed veteran running back Jonathan Stewart had they known Saquon Barkley would be available for them to draft at number two. The Giants apparently feared the Browns would take Barkley first overall, and signed Stewart as insurance. Now, instead of carrying the ball, Stewart’s “main role will be as a locker room leader and conduit” for GM Dave Gettleman, writes Dunleavy.
  • In case you missed it, check out another round of Giants notes from yesterday.

Extra Points: Pats, Seahawks, Texans, Giants

Although there was some mystery as to what substance caused Patriots wideout Julian Edelman to face a four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, he didn’t question the results of the test itself in his appeal, tweets Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Instead, Edelman centered the appeal around the paperwork and documentation surrounding his failed test. In the end, the actual substance that triggered Edelman’s failed test doesn’t matter, as the NFL has the authority to ban players who test positive for unrecognizable substances. Edelman’s appeal was denied today, meaning he’ll miss the first quarter of New England’s 2018 campaign.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • While offensive guard J.R. Sweezy met with the Seahawks earlier this week, a signing may not occur any time soon, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Sweezy was earning $6.5MM annually on his contract with the Buccaneers, and given that he won’t earn anything close to that amount with Seattle, the veteran lineman could choose to wait for a better opportunity. The Seahawks, for their part, don’t need to rush, either, according to Condotta: Seattle’s offensive line is mostly set, and while Sweezy would offer familiarity after spending the 2012-14 seasons with the Seahawks, the club could give reps to its younger linemen before inking Sweezy down the road.
  • Given that starter C.J. Fiedorowicz was forced to retire earlier this year following a series of concussions, the Texans are hoping a “collective effort” will be able to replace his production at the position. “It’s was unfortunate that C.J. Fiedorowicz had to retire but we’ve been very fortunate having a good room, having a bunch of guys come to work, coming to get better,” Texans tight ends coach Tim Kelly told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “Really taking the coaching. I’m fortunate to have those guys in there and really coming in and working hard.” Ryan Griffin looks like the early favorite to start if only due to his experience (six seasons), but Stephen Anderson, rookies Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas, MyCole Pruitt, Matt Lengel, and others could also chip in.
  • Giants third-round defensive lineman B.J. Hill could become an immediate starter, according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. As of now, Hill is penciled one of New York’s starting defensive ends opposite Dalvin Tomlinson. The Giants are switching to a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator James Bettcher, but one of Bettcher’s hand-picked additions — ex-Cardinals defender Josh Mauro — is suspended for the first quarter of the 2018 season. While Mauro could certainly reclaim a starting spot when he returns, Hill could use the first quarter of the year to run with the job.

Giants Notes: Beckham, Webb, Hill, Riley

The next several weeks could be crucial in the Giants/Odell Beckham Jr. relationship. The superstar wideout said he intends to show up to camp on time, but this may not be a full-on pledge. Instead, it could be contingent on how extension talks — currently not going well — proceed. In an expansive piece attempting to gauge this situation, ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell writes the presence of Dave Gettleman could make a significant difference in this process.

Famously known as a hard-line negotiator, alienating Steve Smith and rescinding Josh Norman‘s franchise tag in Carolina, Gettleman has repeatedly said he wants the Giants to be geared around their ground game more than they have been in the past. He authorized the highest running back draft pick since Reggie Bush and could have four new starting offensive linemen come Week 1. Barnwell suggests the Giants could use this season to see how Saquon Barkley impacts their offense rather than authorizing a wide receiver-record contract for Beckham before the season. This strategy certainly wouldn’t go over well with Beckham, and it could run the risk of a lengthy holdout, but the Giants would also have the franchise tag as a short-term option in 2019.

Here’s the latest on Big Blue coming out of minicamp.

  • After minicamp, Davis Webb has a big lead on Kyle Lauletta for the backup job, Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com notes. This would mark the 2017 third-rounder’s first time as the backup, with Geno Smith having held that job last season (save for Big Blue’s rough PR week in early December). However, Lauletta has impressed new OC Mike Shula. “He has a nice calmness about him,” Shula said of the rookie fourth-rounder. “If things don’t go exactly how they are drawn out on the board, his mind works pretty fast, so far, and he finds the next guy, gets through his progressions. He has a good feel for anticipation and touch, so I think he’s off to a good start.”
  • While Barkley and second-round pick Will Hernandez have moved into the Giants’ starting lineup, third-round pick B.J. Hill may be ready to join them. The rookie lined up alongside Damon Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson in the Giants’ new 3-4 scheme at minicamp, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic (subscription required). The Giants don’t have a surefire competitor that would deprive the N.C. State-developed rookie of a viable path to a Week 1 start, so this will be an interesting situation once training camp begins.
  • Another surprise starter could come in New York’s secondary. The Giants are preparing to give Eli Apple another chance at cornerback opposite Janoris Jenkins and aren’t as talented at this spot as they were with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also in the picture last season, but Duggan writes Landon Collins could have an interesting sidekick as well. Low-level UFA addition (and converted corner) Curtis Riley has a legitimate shot to start alongside Collins, per Duggan, after working extensively with the first unit in the offseason. Darian Thompson and Michael Thomas are among the others vying for that job with Riley, who played 11 games (no starts) with the Titans the past two seasons after entering the league as a UDFA in 2016.

Giants Sign Third-Round DL B.J. Hill

The Giants have signed another draft pick. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that the team has signed third-round defensive lineman B.J. Hill. The rookie was selected with the 69th pick in this year’s draft.

The 22-year-old had four standout season at NC State, playing in a total of 48 games. His best year came in 2015, when he finished the campaign with 50 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks. He earned an All-ACC honorable mention nod during his senior campaign after he finished with 55 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and one forced fumble.

Veteran Damon Harrison is currently slotted in as the team’s starting nose tackle, but the 6-foot-3, 311-pound Hill appears to be his natural successor. For the time being, the rookie will compete with Robert Thomas, A.J. Francis, Jordan Williams, and Josh Banks for playing time.

Following the move, the Giants still have two unsigned draft picks: first-round running back Saquon Barkley and fifth-round defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Working Out DT Prospect B.J. Hill

The Falcons are seemingly eyeing defensive line help with one of their first two picks. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report tweets that a “big Falcons contingent” is working out N.C. State defensive tackle B.J. Hill. The group includes coach Dan Quinn, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and assistant general manager Scott Pioli.

Hill, who played four seasons at North Carolina State, has bounced around NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 prospect rankings. After not appearing on the initial list, the lineman was listed 42nd in an early-March update. Earlier this week, Hill dropped to No. 50 on the list. Both ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay recently had the defensive tackle being selected among the top-60 picks.

Hill had a productive campaign in 2017, compiling 55 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 2017. His best season came back in 2015, when he finished with 50 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.

The Falcons could use some reinforcement at defensive tackle, although the team is currently rostering four players at the position. Grady Jarrett and Jack Crawford are currently slated as the starters with Taniela Tupou and Joey Ivie on the bench.