B.J. Hill is about to appear in the same sentence as Lawrence Taylor, so that right off is an accomplishment.
The reason: Hill has a chance to do something no Giants rookie has done since Taylor in 1981 by recording more than five sacks, a figure he reached last weekend with three against the Bears.
This is where it gets complicated.
Officially, defensive end Hill already has tied the team rookie record held by linebacker Andy Headen (1983) and defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin (2000). That is because Taylor’s 9 1⁄2 sacks in 1981 came a year before it became a recognized NFL statistic. Therefore, they do not technically exist.
So Hill is on the verge of not only holding the team rookie record by himself but becoming the first rookie ever to lead the Giants in sacks. (Olivier Vernon is two behind for now.)
All that is minutiae, though. The more important thing is that Hill, a third-round pick, looks to be a keeper, part of a rookie class in which the top four picks — Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, Lorenzo Carter and Hill — have contributed.
Hill’s breakout game against the Bears opened some outside eyes but did not come as a shock to his coaches.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Hill has been improving each week, and defensive coordinator James Bettcher said, “When he came in, the thing that stood out most is that he’s ahead of his time in terms of his maturity level.
“In the meeting room, on the practice field, the way he works, the conversation, you can rip his butt, you can coach him hard, lift him up, he can handle all that beyond what many rookies I’ve been around have been able to.”
As a tackle in college, Hill totaled only eight sacks for North Carolina State and never had more than 3 1⁄2 in one season, but there was no shame in that on a line that included Bradley Chubb, the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, and two other NFL draft picks.
(Chubb has 10 sacks for the Broncos, but unlike Hill, he does not lead his team, thanks to Von Miller’s 12 1⁄2.)
Hill said he is a “chill guy” with no repertoire of elaborate sack dances. The Giants will take it, especially because the 19 sacks they have as a team are the second fewest in the NFL — even after the five they had last weekend.
The rookie’s role became more important when the Giants traded defensive tackle Damon Harrison on Oct. 24. Harrison is known for his run-stopping. Hill wants to be known for more than that.
“Who doesn’t want to get a sack?” he said. “It’s like a wide receiver who doesn’t want to get a touchdown, right? That’s what I compare it to.”
He acknowledged that getting a sack “feels pretty good. I’m not going to lie, especially three in one game. It was an amazing feeling.”
Notes & quotes: Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. practiced on a limited basis with what Shurmur described as a bruised quadriceps, but he expects him to play against the Redskins on Sunday. Shurmur said the injury occurred when Beckham got “leg-whipped” against the Eagles on Nov. 25 . . . The only players listed as questionable are linebackers B.J. Goodson (neck/foot) and Tae Davis (ankle) . . . Tight end Evan Engram (hamstring) practiced fully and is expected to play after missing two games . . . Shurmur said quarterback Kyle Lauletta will be Eli Manning’s game-day backup again . . . Is it difficult to prepare for Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez given how little recent game video there is? Said Shurmur, “I have a memory bank of what he’s good at.”