He knew about Bradley Chubb. And he knew about Kentavius Street. But when he found out the Giants were drafting a defensive lineman from N.C. State who wasn't one of them, Damon Harrison didn’t know much about the player.
It was B.J. Hill, the defensive tackle on college football’s most ferocious defensive front. Also known as “The Other Guy.” Harrison clearly wasn't in charge of the scouting process and the Giants selected Hill in the third round.
Now, though, Harrison knows all about Hill.
“I don’t know if you guys have been watching [in training camp], but he’s probably the most athletic defensive lineman that we have, and that says a lot,” Harrison, the Giants' All-Pro defensive tackle said in praise of Hill. “He can do a little bit of everything, which is encouraging to see.”
He also has quietly stepped into a starting job with the Giants. Throughout camp their most common defensive front in base schemes has consisted of Harrison, Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson. Once more, he’s the other guy. And that makes him comfortable.
Many draft picks come from teams where they were the dominant species in their position groups if not their entire team. They were the ones relied on to make big plays and take over games because if they didn’t, there wasn’t really anyone else who could. Not so Hill, who comes to the Giants knowing not only what it takes to play his position, but what it takes to play as part of a unit.
“That helps,” Hill said. “I have to know my role and they’ll know their role. That’s how I fit in and that’s why we were so good at State.”
That’s not to say Hill can’t excel individually. In fact, the Giants want him to, to a certain degree. Despite playing mostly at the line of scrimmage in college, they’re hoping he can provide more pressure on the pocket as a 3-4 defensive end.
“One thing he really does well for a young guy is play well with his hands at the line of scrimmage, and I think some of the guys you get coming in, their hands aren’t good enough or they’re not fast enough or they’re not strong enough to be able to handle the blockers that they have to play against in this league,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said of Hill. “He’s done well with that. We’ve moved him around in the line too, you’ve seen him lining up as a nose, as a three technique, as a five technique, a guy that’ll have some position flexibility for us.”
Hill said he likes his new job description.
“I love our defense,” he said. “I love the way we play. I love our style. I love just the violence of the way we’re going to play this year. I’m going to bring whatever I’ve got to the table, to each game. Pass rush, stopping the run, all of it.”
And that he doesn’t have to do it all by himself is a familiar place for him to be.
“I’m in a great situation where I got great people beside me,” he said. “I’m excited to play beside OV [Olivier Vernon], Snacks, Tomlinson, like, everybody. I’m excited.”