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B.J. Hill a “great anchor” on defensive line, says college coach

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N.C. State defensive line coach Kevin Patrick believes Giants “got a steal”

Notre Dame v North Carolina State
B.J. Hill
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Bradley Chubb was the star on the North Carolina State defensive line the past couple of seasons, and deservedly so. He got all the accolades, and the attention, and wound up being selected fifth overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Chubb, though, might not have been Wolfpack defensive line coach Kevin Patrick’s favorite player. That might have been nose tackle B.J. Hill, who did the under-appreciated grunt work inside, and was selected in the third round, 69th overall, by the New York Giants.

“Chubb is like the glitz and glamor of all this. I told Chubb this before -- I’m a defensive end myself and my favorite guys have always been those guys that play right inside me. Very, very, very partial to B.J.,” Patrick said recently by phone.

“I call him The Standard. He is the standard on the field, off the field. I don’t think I’ve heard him cuss. He’s that good of a person off the field, but on the field he’s probably one of the strongest, nastiest human beings I’ve ever been around.”

In his 2018 NFL Draft Guide, Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout wrote:

“He is a heavy-handed hulk in the middle of the line, holding his ground with the ball awareness and non-stop hustle to see immediate NFL playing time. He isn’t a prove rush threat, but he has the movement skills and baseline rush moves to get better in this area. Overall, Hill has the athletic balance and upper body strength to control the multiple blockers, projecting as a scheme-versatile NFL nose tackle.”

Patrick put it this way:

“He’s the anchor. He’s good, he’s tough, he’s strong. A lot of guys nowadays don’t play bump and bruise ... He loves being down in the mix of things and he’s hard to move. He’s a great anchor.”

Where does he fit with the Giants?

The Giants have Damon Harrison at the nose tackle, and drafted defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round a year ago. In the base 3-4 alignment used by James Bettcher, Tomlinson figures to play a 5-tech defensive end much of the time.

By drafting Hill and R.J. McIntosh, along with adding veterans like Josh Mauro and A.J. Francis, what the Giants are trying to do is build depth so that no one has to play too many snaps.

That’s where Hill comes in.

Patrick simply said “yes” when asked if he thought Hill could contribute right away.

“He’s going to do well as a zero technique nose, I really believe so, but I think he has the ability to go out there and play some five if needed.”

Patrick should know talent

He was an All-American defensive end at Miami. In two stints covering nine seasons coaching defensive linemen at USF he coached Jason Pierre-Paul and Terrell McClain. Patrick also recruited JPP.

He believes Hill will prove to be a quality NFL player.

“I thought last year he could play in the NFL. Now I think after watching this year and how he raised his game I think he can have an impact at that level. Not just play, but have an impact,” Patrick said.

“The speed will be a small adjustment, but it’ll be the IQ part of it. That’s where he’s going to have the ability to pick it up rather fast. … He understands the game, he understands the pieces around him. He’s got a lot to learn and he knows that, it’s always a learning process, but I’m very confident.

“To me I think you got a steal. I’m not an evaluator of other people, but I think you got a guy. I’m telling you y’all got a steal in the third round.”

Just a run-stuffer?

Harrison has made a stellar career out of playing the run, annually being named by Pro Football Focus as the league’s best run-defending defensive tackle. In a league where run defense is under-valued, that hasn’t gotten Harrison a whole lot of love from Pro Bowl or All-Pro voters — not even from peers when it comes to ranking the league’s best players.

Hill enters the NFL with a similar reputation, having compiled just eight sacks in 48 games at North Carolina State.

“Trust me, he’s heard it that he’s a one-dimensional player,” Patrick said.

The Giants believe that Hill, with strength to push the pocket and enough athleticism to run a faster three-cone at the NFL Combine than Chubb (7.28 to 7.37) despite being 42 pounds heavier, can develop into an effective pass rusher.

“He has it, he definitely has it. He’ll be fine. That’s probably the biggest thing he needs to improve on. He’s got some good moves, he just needs to be consistent with it,” Patrick said. “I’m excited about him being up there … Let me tell you something, you got a player that you’re going to be able to put out there for three downs.”

“He’s a great human being.”

Beyond football, Patrick couldn’t help but gush about B.J. Hill the person.

“Find somebody to say something bad about him. I mean, seriously,” Patrick said.

“He’s remarkable. The work he puts in to the community on his own. We do it whole as a football team, but he’s just a remarkable man off the field. I don’t know how you could describe it other than the fact that you find somebody that can say one bad thing about B.J. Hill. Find one! You go anywhere, you can’t find one.”

Patrick almost seemed indignant when I asked him for an example of Hill’s off-the-field demeanor, saying “he’s not lifted a car off anybody in an emergency situation.”

He did say this:

”I’ll tell you this. B.J. and Chubb were sitting in my house. The first time they ever met my wife. My wife walked in that room and my daughter walked in that room and both of those young men stood straight up. They were raised right.”

Hill might be a great human being, but Patrick added that “he’ll tie your neck in a knot too, now. Don’t get it mixed up on that football field.”