Hill signed his original-round tender with the Falcons on Saturday, Will McFadden of the team's official site reports. While not necessarily a game changer, Hill has been effective as the Falcons' backup. The 24-year-old amassed 323 yards and two touchdowns on the ground after injuries to Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith in 2019, showing he can produce when necessary. With newly signed star running back Todd Gurley leading the backfield, Hill should continue to serve as a strong change-of-pace rusher.
The Falcons have placed an original-round tender on Hill, who is a restricted free agent, Will McFadden of the team's official site reports. Hill was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft, so the Falcons will receive that as compensation if the running back signs an offer sheet and the team doesn't match it. Assuming he's retained, he's a candidate to fill the void created after Devonta Freeman was released Monday, along with fellow holdovers Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison. In 12 games (two starts) last season, Hill turned 78 carries into 323 yards (4.1 YPC) and two touchdowns while hauling in 10 of 14 targets for 69 yards and another score.
Hill ran for 21 yards on five carries during Sunday's 28-22 overtime win against the Buccaneers. He concluded the 2019 season with 323 yards and two touchdowns on 78 carries along with 10 receptions on 14 targets for 69 yards and one additional TD. The third-year back out of Wyoming got his first crack at being a starting NFL running back in Weeks 11 and 12 with Devonta Freeman inactive, but he was only able to accumulate 44 rushing yards on 24 attempts. Hill certainly should not entirely shoulder the blame for his inefficient rushing average during that span, as Atlanta's offensive line allowed its ball carriers to be stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage at the sixth-highest rate in the league this season. When inserted into the lineup as a complementary option Hill was far more effective, posting an outstanding 5.2 yards per carry in games in which he did not start. With his contract expiring in the offseason he's a candidate to be brought back by Atlanta as a second or third-string option at RB, having proven already that he can be adequate in such a role.
Hill ran for 66 yards on seven carries and recovered a fumble from Jaguars return man Michael Walker during Sunday's 24-12 win against Jacksonville. Following a six-play, 82-yard touchdown drive on Atlanta's opening possession of the afternoon, Jaguars kickoff returner Walker coughed up a fumble into the hands of Hill. The Falcons' offense capitalized four plays later, cashing in with a Matt Ryan-to-Devonta Freeman touchdown pass to seize a 14-0 lead at the 9:28 mark of the first quarter. Hill continued to make an impact throughout the contest, pacing the Falcons' backfield with 66 rushing yards and finishing with a game-high 9.4 yards per carry. He's expected to serve as a complementary option to Freeman again Week 17 when Atlanta takes on the Buccaneers' No. 1 rush defense.
Hill gained 16 yards on his lone rush attempt during Sunday's 29-22 win over the 49ers. Devonta Freeman dominated the workload by garnering 12 of Atlanta's 14 RB carries, but Hill made the most of his only offensive opportunity, tearing through the San Francisco defense for an explosive gain to help set up a field goal from Younghoe Koo late in the second quarter. Though Hill was able to accumulate 62 yards and a touchdown on nine carries in Week 14 against Carolina, he has managed just 53 scrimmage yards in his other two appearances since Freeman returned to the lineup Nov. 28 versus New Orleans. Hill is expected to again serve as a complementary option when the Falcons take on Jacksonville's bottom-five rush defense in Week 16.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|4||10/06||@Green Bay Packers||26||21.22|
|11||11/22||@New Orleans Saints||5||13.24|
|12||11/29||Las Vegas Raiders||0.00|
|13||12/06||New Orleans Saints||5||13.24|
|14||12/13||@Los Angeles Chargers||22||18.88|
|15||12/20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||10.63|
|16||12/27||@Kansas City Chiefs||23||20.37|
|17||01/03||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||10.63|
|3 Year Avg||36||172||1||4||38||0||26|