Daxton Hill - DB - Michigan
Welcome to the rookie profile for Daxton Hill. Hill is the younger brother of Baltimore Ravens running back, Justice Hill. Daxton has electric speed and a good man coverage ability for a safety. A versatile player who can play across the secondary. In terms of athletic abilities, Hill may well be one of the best in this year’s draft class at the safety position.
Height: 6′ 0″
Weight: 192 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.24s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
From his high-school days it was clear that Hill was a supreme athlete, recording a 40 time of 4.3 and recording a 43-inch vertical, he also received USA Today High School All-American honors in 2018. Out of high school Hill received a 5-star scout grade, was 13th in the ESPN 300 and was also ranked the number one safety in Oklahoma. After a visit to Michigan in September 2018 Hill appeared to have made his mind up, committing to the Wolverines in December 2018.
In Hill’s freshman year he showed the Nation why he was regarded as such a high prospect coming out of high school as hit the ground running featuring 12 times for Michigan. Hill put up impressive numbers as a freshman as he racked up 36 tackles, 3.0 tackles for a loss, an interception and 2 fumble recoveries.
Even in a COVID restricted season in Hill’s sophomore year we saw him put up some very good numbers across the 6 games that he appeared in. Hill finished the season second in tackles as he chalked up 44 tackles and an interception.
In the past season we have seen Hill stake his claim as to why he is regarded as one of the top safeties in this class. Featuring in 14 games for Michigan and amassing 69 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, 0.5 sacks, 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery. After an impressive season this led to Hill receiving first-team All-Big Ten honors.
It’s glaringly obvious where Hill’s main strength is, he is an athletic beast. An elite athlete with electric speed combined with excellent acceleration and a great change of direction, as a smooth runner in mover in space and loose hips to turn and run he has all of the key attributes to be an insane coverage player.
I think we will see Hill thrive in the combine and shoot up draft boards, a player that oozes athleticism. Hill is often one of the top SPARQ (speed, power and reaction, quickness) rated safeties; he actually had the best SPARQ rating in the class in 2019. We are seeing the hype around Kyle Hamilton at the safety position due to his athleticism, but Hill is just as impressive, if not even more so. Hill could easily hit mid 4.2’s in the combine, reminiscent of that famous Deion Sanders feat in 1989’s combine.
Hill’s game speed is impressive, he will use his athleticism to his advantage and he can be quite aggressive, he’s shown glimpses of physicality and is more than willing to engage and meet ball carriers, calculating when to tackle rather than just throwing himself in to tackles needlessly – Hill is very good in the tackling game. More than willing to get involved in the run game and closes well with his good burst of speed.
Hill’s versatility will be something that NFL scouts will admire about his game. He can play single-high free safety, outside corner, as a nickel back and we’ve even seen him line up as a dime backer. Hill may be listed solely as a safety, but he has all the credentials to be a Swiss Army Knife style defensive back. Combining Hill’s athleticism with his toughness he has all the credentials to be a top NFL defensive back. A tough footballer who will always look to deliver a big hit on contact and will always look to come out with the ball, a true competitor.
Hill’s incredible speed, toughness and experience playing as part of Michigan’s special teams will be a big bonus, he will make an instant impact in special teams.
Hill’s athletic prowess is a gift however for him to get even more out of this he needs to improve his footballing IQ, whilst he showed us glimpses of improvements it’s still an area that will need work. He is good at reading the quarterback’s eyes but won’t act on this as much as we would like to see.
I think it’s safe to say that Hill’s coverage abilities are somewhat of a mixed bag. One minute he can be making a big play and the next minute can look a little heavy footed and will let a receiver get away untouched. It’s no secret that versatility in the NFL is a huge benefit to your draft stock but this may have hindered Hill’s development as he’s not been able to focus on just one role in his collegiate career, in the NFL though I think we can see this fixed quite easily.
Hill’s ‘safety’ tag will be something that NFL teams will find strange especially when you bear in mind that he’s spent most of his collegiate career in the slot. This makes you wonder how teams will value his draft stock as a cornerback? It’s no secret that Hill has the credentials to be successful as a corner but will a team have the patience to master his craft, with first or second round draft stock you would want and expect the finished article.
I would like to see Hill make some more big plays, whilst he brought down four interceptions throughout his college career I think it’s fair to say that we would have expected a lot more. If Hill is to fulfill his potential, he will need to create a lot more turnovers and big money players in the NFL. One thing I would like to note though: Hill’s ball skills are very good and when presented the chance he will haul in opportunities more often than not, we just haven’t seen enough of it yet.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 2
The Cowboys would be a great landing spot for Hill, with Damonte Kazee and Malik Hooker providing competition, we could see Hill as an immediate starter, this would also afford Dallas patience to master Hill’s craft. When looking at the Cowboys stat sheets you see all the fancy numbers that would lead you to believe they are defensively sound, however it will fail to show the amount of big plays they have given up, something that Hill could be a real asset for in a high potential and talented defense.
Hill would be an ideal fit for the Cowboys scheme as he can hold his own in the middle as part of a cover 3. It’s no secret that Dallas picked a gem in last year’s draft with Micah Parsons in the front 7, I genuinely believe that Daxton Hill could have a similar impact on the Cowboys secondary and he could prove to be the ‘steal of the draft’ if a team can get the full potential out his abilities.