The addition of Jeremy Hill is a classic case of the Patriots buying low on a running back who has shown flashes of talent in the past, but for whatever reason, needs a career reboot.
The 25-year-old is a 6-foot-1, 233-pounder who was a second-round pick of the Bengals out of LSU in 2014. In four years and 54 games — 43 starts — he had 704 carries for 2,873 rushing yards (4.1 yards per carry) and an impressive 29 rushing touchdowns with Cincy. In addition, he flashed a bit as a pass catcher, with 67 receptions on 82 targets for 484 yards and a touchdown.
His first two-plus years in the league were really impressive — as a rookie in 2014, he rushed for 100-plus yards in five games. He was also one of the most physical runners in the league as a rookie, averaging 2.29 yards after contact, fourth-best in the NFL.
But for a variety of reasons, he fell out of favor in Cincinnati, and midway through the 2017 season, he was placed on injured reserve because of an ankle issue. The Bengals didn’t shed any tears, however, as they had become clearly enamored with highly-acclaimed youngster Joe Mixon, who assumed full-time status when Hill went down, and will be the feature back in Cincy now going forward. There’s also Gio Bernard to consider, which really left little work for Hill with the Bengals.