Is Will Hill the best safety in the NFL?


Is it too early to say that the Baltimore Ravens faith in Will Hill is paying off? Well… maybe, but it is certainly starting to look that way.

Hill, who after serving his 6 game suspension for repeated strikes against the NFL’s drug policy to start the 2014 season, quickly emerged as a difference maker on a defense that desperately needed him. He strung together a series of impressive performances last year, notably dominating against standout tight end Jimmy Graham, then of the New Orleans Saints.

As a result, the Ravens put their faith in Will Hill this off season, signing him to a two year contract and personally challenging him to stay clean off the field, something he had failed to do whilst with the New York Giants, which saw him wear out his welcome in the big apple.

Sep 13, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens strong safety Will Hill (33) celebrates after a tackle against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 19-13. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

They also got him a running buddy in the form of Kendrick Lewis from the Texans, giving him more help over the top and allowing him to play more of a downhill role as a strong safety.

The result?  According to Pro Football Focus, his time in Baltimore has seen him become an elite safety; possibly even the best in the league.

Following last Sunday’s performance against the Denver Broncos Hill was graded as the top overall safety in the league through week 1. He graded better than any safety against the run (+2.4) and did well in pass coverage (+1.2), allowing only 1 reception (from 2 targets) for 7 yards.

Many would argue a lack of deep shots helped this grade, but the love for Hill doesn’t stop there. In PFF’s ratings system, which accounts for play over the last 2 years and is normalized to consider situational play, Hill has climbed to the number 1 spot ahead of the likes of Eric Weddle (2nd), Kam Chancellor (3rd), Devin McCourty (4th), and Tyrann Mathieu (5th). Impressive stuff when you consider the help he had in the secondary last year.

More from Ebony Bird

Even if you don’t subscribe to the growing power of ratings systems such as Pro Football Focus’, it’s hard to argue that Will Hill is becoming, if he’s not already, an elite talent. I can’t remember a Ravens game in recent memory when he didn’t play consistently well and make big plays.

If the rest of the secondary can build from a strong performance last week then Hill will surely be soon as widely feared as any strong safety in the NFL.

I’m seeing a lot more Will Hill jerseys popping up around the place and if he continues on this path and can stay on the field, then don’t be surprised if they are around for years to come.

Next: 3 ways the Ravens can improve on offense

More from Ebony Bird