2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Daxton Hill

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Daxton Hill

by December 27, 2021 12 comments

Daxton Hill has been one of the best players in college football since he arrived on campus at Michigan. As a former five-star recruit from Oklahoma and the seventh-ranked player in the nation, it is no surprise that the Wolverine’s safety is in the conversation as a first-round selection for April’s draft. He already has a brother in the NFL, Justice, who is a running back for the Ravens. Hill has plenty of accolades from his time with the Wolverines, including an All-Big Ten First Team award during the 2021 safety. With the safety position being devalued recently, it will be interesting to see where Hill lands during April’s draft.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Daxton Hill

Jersey: No. 30

Position: Safety

School: Michigan 

Class: Junior

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 192

Games Watched: Minnesota (2020), Indiana (2021), Nebraska (2021), Wisconsin (2021) 

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Instincts (13/15)

Hill was the voice of the Michigan secondary. He was often seen talking through pre-snap motions and getting other players into position. Once the ball is snapped, Hill constantly has his eyes on the quarterback. While this works in many cases, there are also times he gets too confident in himself and tries baiting the quarterbacks, and it results in a big play downfield, like the Wisconsin game this year. Besides a few small things, Hill is one of the best in the game at reading and reacting to what’s in front of him. 

Range/Closing Speed (14/15)

Hill is like a rocket as soon as he diagnoses where the ball is. He flies around the ball and can cover ground within seconds. Hill can be the last defender in a line to make the tackle on a large gain, and he’ll chase down the ball-carrier and make a touchdown-saving tackle. He has the absurd speed to make up ground quickly and easily and is always a factor over the top on big chunk plays. 

Man Coverage (7.5/10)

Man coverage may be the only trait where Hill doesn’t excel. Against Minnesota in 2020, he had the difficult task of going one-on-one with Rashod Bateman and Chris Autman-Bell. Bateman made Hill look like a fool on a few of the plays here and there in that game. Besides going against those two, which Bateman was a first-round draft choice, and Autman-Bell is one of the more underrated receivers in the country, Hill did fantastically. 

Zone Coverage (8.5/10)

Hill does well in zone coverage. There are times where he could be better, but he’s also trying to bait the quarterback into mistakes most of the time, which causes him to allow some bigger gains. He is consistently reading the quarterback’s eyes, and it resulted in him giving up space in the game against Minnesota in 2020 that resulted in a touchdown. 

Ball Skills (8.75/10)

Hill consistently has his hands on the ball, even if it doesn’t result in many interceptions. There were various cases throughout the four games watched where he consistently broke up passes or even forced a throw in a different direction due to his presence in the area where the quarterback was looking. 

Change of Direction (9/10)

Thanks to his outstanding athleticism, which we’ll get to later, Hill’s transitions in space are out of the ordinary. He can quickly flip his hips in a way that many can’t. He can quickly change which way he’s going once the ball is in the air. This is in no way a concern for Hill. 

Tackling/Run Support (8.75/10)

Hill is very physical in the run game. He is constantly on the pile when there is one to take down the ball carrier. Hill is a consistent tackler that rarely misses tackles in the open field, even made a touchdown-saving tackle, in the game against Indiana this year. He’s aggressive downhill to make a tackle when a receiver makes the catch and can even give some power to his hits as well as an effort to break up the pass. 

Versatility (9.5/10)

Michigan used Hill in a variety of different ways throughout the 2021 campaign. That includes aligning as a safety in two-high formations or single-high formations. Along with that, he played outside and nickel cornerback and in the box. If you want to blitz him off the edge, go for it, he’s done that as well. Hill is one of the most versatile players in the 2022 draft. 

Athleticism (9.5/10)

Hill is one of the best athletes at the safety position to come out in years. Before his collegiate career at Michigan, he was said to have run a 4.3 40-yard dash time, a 43.6-inch vertical, and 4.13 in the short shuttle. The speed shows up on tape as Hill is flying around the field and looking like the fastest player on the gridiron.

Against Nebraska, Hill was one-on-one with a tight end, leaped up, and tipped the ball, popping it into the air, and caught the ball as he was falling to the ground. Any team would love to have Hill, thanks to his athleticism. 

Player Summary

Hill is in the conversation for the second-best safety in the draft behind Kyle Hamilton. While many mocks project him to go in the late first round, he’s talented enough to go in the 12-20 range. His biggest strengths are his versatility, athleticism, and ability to be an active force against the run. The weaknesses come in terms of man coverage and the fact that he spends a lot of time looking into the backfield. 

Hill is a player that can turn the game around all on his own. Against Wisconsin this year, he gave up a chunk gain deep into Michigan territory. Following that play, the dynamic safety came up big with a sack on a blitz, another hit on the quarterback, and a game-sealing interception, where he baited Graham Mertz. Teams will love his tenacity for winning in multiple ways thanks to his versatility and the ability to play him in a primarily cover one or cover three scheme. 

Rookie Projection: Swiss Army Knife Type Player

Third Year Projection: Dynamic Free Safety

Final Grade (88.5/100): Mid First Round

Player Comp: Devin McCourty/Jabrill Peppers

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