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B.J. Hill part of Giants’ plan to “build a wall” on defensive line

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Rookie is surprisingly being used as a starting defensive end

Notre Dame v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

When the New York Giants drafted defensive lineman B.J. Hill in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, his defensive line coach at North Carolina State, Kevin Patrick, told me he thought the 6-foot-3, 311-pound Hill “could” play defensive end after being a nose tackle for the Wolfpack.

“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 told me.

Little did Patrick, Hill, or anyone else know that the Giants’ plan appears to be to use Hill as a defensive end. During OTAs, Hill was paired with Dalvin Tomlinson at defensive end in the Giants’ base 3-4 alignment.

Damon Harrison has been impressed by Hill.

“He can play. That’s the first thing our defensive line coach [Gary Emanuel] told me when I got here. He said ‘you’re going to love 95.’ He said he can play and I got out here and I watched him. He’s strong and he has some wiggle to him, he has some moves to him,” Harrison said on Tuesday. “That’s somebody else who I think with some time and a little more experience will be a dominant player in this league.”

Let’s look closer at Hill as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

2017 season in review

Hill was perhaps the unnoticed player on a North Carolina State defensive line that included Bradley Chubb and Kentavius Street. Chubb was selected No. 5 overall by the Denver Broncos. Street, after tearing an ACL during the buildup to the draft, was selected in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

Playing nose tackle, Hill had 55 tackles, (3.5) for loss, and two sacks. The Giants selected him in the third round, 69th overall.

2018 outlook

It may have been a surprise when the Giants called Hill’s name 69th overall in the draft, but OTAs made it clear that the Giants have a plan for him. Hill, Tomlinson and Damon Harrison provide nearly 1,000 pounds of run-stopping beef on early or short-yardage downs.

“I believe we want to stop the run first before the pass, that’s our go-to,” Hill said. “Stop the run. Build a wall.”

That would seem like a good plan. And will would seem suited to help make it successful.

The NFL Draft Report says that Hill “will never generate gaudy statistics, but his presence on the field will allow other linemen to not worry about double team action to make the play.” That, in essence, is the role of a defensive end in a 3-4. Occupy blockers so the linebackers can make plays.

Hill is undeterred by never having played anywhere other than nose tackle as a collegian.

“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. I’m an athlete. I feel like I can play anywhere on the line. I played the one (tech) my whole career in college, but I knew myself and I knew I can play any position.”

Yes, Hill is an athlete. His spider chart tells you as much:

His three-cone and bench press numbers, in fact, were better than Chubb’s.

“I’m gonna brag about that one,” Hill said.

The Giants will be bragging if Hill turns out to be the impact player they apparently believe he could be.