Justice Hill Could Return Kicks for the Baltimore Ravens

first_imgGetting on the field early — not to mention earning a featured role — is not an easy task for an NFL rookie. Justice Hill knows that he has an upHill battle, so he’s more than happy to step outside of his comfort zone if it means stepping on the field sooner.The Baltimore Ravens, who drafted Hill in the fourth round of this spring’s NFL Draft to bring the lightning, had already added two-time Pro Bowler Mark Ingram over the offseason to bring the hammer.Ingram figures to be the feature back come fall and the position of RB2 is not going to be easy for the rookie to steal.Last year, undrafted signee Gus Edwards found his footing midway through his rookie season and started his last six games. His 718 rushing yards was behind only Pro Bowl selection Phillip Lindsay among first-year players. Third-year back Kenneth Dixon also showed some nice things late in the season.But despite the seeming logjam at tailback, Justice boasts a different type of speed and explosiveness than his new colleagues and the Ravens coaching staff is exploring every option to get their new playmaker involved early, including trying him out at kick returner.Justice joined the Ravens’ in-house podcast, The Lounge Podcast, and talked about rookie mini camp, his time at OSU and how he sees himself fitting in with such a crowded backfield.“I haven’t been to get out there in the offense,” said Hill. “Once training camp starts that’s when we really get to figure it out. So right now I’m just trying to do whatever I can to get on the field.“Whether it’s returning, catching the ball out of the backfield, running the ball, I just want to be able to do everything. When training camp comes around I’ll be able to show that more. Hopefully it turns into some big points on the field.”Justice admitted that he never returned kicks in college but said that he was excited to try his leg at it in the preseason.“That’s where I’m at right now,” Hill said. “They’ve got me at kick return, so I’m going to go out there and try to make some plays in preseason.”Justice continued about what he’s learned about catching kicks so far, “That’s not the hard part… Kick returns it just goes straight up and straight down… The only thing with kick returns is you gotta watch people coming free… Other than that it’s just running. We’ve got great schemes and great people on the field and so there’s going to be creases to run to hit it and convert some big plays.”Another role that Justice will likely be looked upon to fill is that of a receiver out of the backfield. It’s a skill set that went largely underutilized at Oklahoma State.There was plenty of buzz during spring and fall camps heading into his junior season that Justice would take on a more featured role in OSU’s passing game, but that never materialized. In 2018, Hill was targeted just 17 times in 10 games, and caught 13 of them for 68 yards. That was a significant drop off from his sophomore season when Mason Rudolph threw it to him 44 times resulting in 31 catches, 190 yards and a score.“It’s just not how the offense was,” said Hill. “Everything for us in the passing game was directed toward receiver. Even like check-downs, they’re not gonna throw a 3-yard check-down, there just going to go throw a go ball. It was just impossible to get some catches but out here I’ve probably caught way more balls than I have ever, like even in practices at Oklahoma State.“So it’s going to be different but I like it because that’s what I like doing cause I have the ability to do it so I want to be able to show that.”With Hill, wide receivers Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, the Ravens drafted a “track team” to go around big-play threat Lamar Jackson. The team that was second in the NFL in rushing offense and scoring offense last season just got a lot younger and faster. The dynamic Ravens should be a fun team to watch in the near future and Justice Hill should be a big part of that. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img

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