To follow up on my quarterback comparison mini-series from last week, I wanted to shift my focus to the Cowboy running backs. Similar to the QBs, I’m going to start with the guy listed first on the depth chart, Justice Hill.
Justice Hill – 5-10, 190
Player Comparison: Tiki Barber
I know, I know… HOW DID YOU NOT PICK BARRY SANDERS??
First off, I’m sorry. Second off, it’s true there are a lot of similarities between the GOAT and Hill, but I wanted to go in a different direction with my comparison for the talented OSU running back.
Barber and Hill are both smaller backs. Barber was listed at 5-10, 200 pounds during his NFL career, which is very close to Hill’s 5-10, 190. The first similarity that stood out to me between these two is their elusiveness. Even though they aren’t big guys, both Barber and Hill run with low pad level and have great balance, which makes them extremely tough to tackle. In addition, once they maneuver past the second level, both players have the breakaway speed to take it to the house.
Additionally, neither one of them is afraid of a little contact. Whether it be at the goal line or in the middle of the field, these two never shy away from a big hit.
Both players have such good field vision and do/did a great job of reading and reacting to their blocks both at the line and downfield. Not to mention their agility and ability to stay upright after contact, which I noted above.
The final similarity I’ll call out between these two is their ability to be capable receiving options out of the backfield. Tiki was involved in the passing game quite a bit during his NFL career, and I believe Hill has all the tools to become more of a threat not only out of the backfield, but as a primary route option from the slot receiver position.
This is something Barber excelled at in his time with the Giants, and we’ve seen Yurcich split Hill out in the slot a few times already this season.
To go along with the film, I also compared Hill’s stats from last season and to Barber’s stats from his junior season at Virginia. Below you will see the two backs’ production on the ground:
- Hill — 268 attempts, 1,467 yards, 15 touchdowns
- Barber — 265 attempts, 1,397 yards, 14 touchdowns
And, here’s their numbers in the receiving game:
- Hill — 31 receptions, 190 yards, 1 touchdown
- Barber — 22 receptions, 216 yards, 2 touchdowns
That’s a 44 yard difference in total yards from scrimmage when you stack these two seasons up against each other.
Now, one difference between these two is ball security. Barber had fumbling problems throughout his career, and this is not something that’s plagued Hill during his tenure at Oklahoma State.
Even though some may say Hill is undersized for the professional game, I think he has the overall talent to become a solid player in the NFL. If he continues at the pace he’s on so far this season, I could see his name being called pretty early come draft day.