Justice Hill isn’t having much trouble adjusting to the speed of the NFL game.
Thursday night, it was the Green Bay Packers who had trouble dealing with Hill’s speed. The Ravens’ fourth-round pick was the team’s leading rusher during a 26-13 victory with 49 yards on 10 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run that showed Hill can do more than just outrun defenders.
Hill was hit short of the goal line on his touchdown run, but he broke one tackle, sidestepped another Packers player, and powered his way into the end zone. He was tough to bring down all night, showing a part of his game that wasn’t always talked about prior to the draft.
Once Hill posted the fastest 40-yard dash (4.4) among running backs February at the NFL Combine, the word on his speed was out. But the former Oklahoma State back is showing that even in tight spaces, he can make positive yards.
“Everybody’s a little bit faster; it’s a transition from college to here,” Hill said. “So I have to be a little bit faster, too. At the end of the day, it’s still football. I really don’t approach it any differently.”
However, Hill was excited to score his first NFL touchdown, even during a preseason game.
“It was great feeling,” Hill said. “Playing running back, you’ve got to be able to break some tackles, and I was able to do that.”
The Ravens are deep at running back with Mark Ingram II and Gus Edwards ahead of Hill on the depth chart, and Kenneth Dixon also a returning veteran. However, Hill has a chance to find a role in the offense, particularly since he has also shown reliable hands catching the football.
“He really made some runs, didn’t he?” Harbaugh said. “He made some tough runs. He had some speed runs, too, where he accelerated, but he had some tough runs. The one on the goal line, he had one where he was hemmed up and he broke a couple of tackles there for a first down. He had a good night.”