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Stephen Hill: Not a Victim of Expectations

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Why people who say calls for Stephen Hill's head, based on where he was picked, are incorrect.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Hill has had a rough go of things in his first two NFL seasons. At this point it seems like he is going to have to show some tangible improvement in training camp and the preseason, or he risks being a camp casualty. I have heard an argument from more than one person about the pressure on him as a second round pick suggesting that few would be calling for his head if he was a late round pick.

Recent New York Jets history shows this is not the case, though. By the third year, late round picks tend to be either making an impact or are cut.

Let's take a look at five years worth of late round picks for the Jets from 2007 through 2011. The 2011 class hit their third season a year ago.

Player Draft Year Round Result by Year 3 or Earlier if Cut
Jacob Bender 2007 6 Cut after one year
Chansi Stuckey 2007 7 Slot receiver/traded for Braylon Edwards
Erik Ainge 2008 5 Entered rehab
Marcus Henry 2008 6 Waived after two years on practice squad
Nate Garner 2008 7 Cut after rookie preseason
Matt Slauson 2009 6 Starting left guard
Joe McKnight 2010 5 Kickoff return man
John Conner 2010 5 Starting fullback/cut in season
Jeremy Kerley 2011 5 Slot receiver
Greg McElroy 2011 7 Cut after third preseason
Scotty McKnight 2011 7 Waived in second preseason after year on practice squad

So Hill is not really a victim of being overdrafted here. Late picks are either useful by year three or are gone. On the contrary, Hill's status of a second round pick probably helps his case to make the team. A second round pick is a huge investment so teams tend to keep them around longer hoping against hope they will get some sort of return. Judging from above, he might not have even gotten a third training camp had he been drafted later.

Think about it. Will anybody really give it a second thought if Josh Bush from the same class is cut?