Ravens: Justice Hill’s roster spot could be in jeopardy

Ravens, Justice Hill (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens, Justice Hill (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens were hoping that running back Justice Hill would take a big step going into his third NFL season and begin to contribute more on offense.

However, his lackluster performance this summer indicates that he may not be ready for such a role.

Still, Hill is a core special teamer and the coaching staff remains high on him. There’s no reason to believe that his roster spot could be in jeopardy, right?

After Saturday’s preseason opener, it’s a discussion worth having. Especially given how good both Ty’Son Williams and Nate McCrary looked.

Could the Ravens keep Ty’Son Williams or Nate McCrary over Justice Hill?

Hill’s first preseason outing of the summer didn’t exactly go as planned. The former Oklahoma State standout finished with just eight yards on five carries and hauled in one catch for four yards.

It was a disappointing showing, certainly due in part to a poor performance from the offensive line. However, it almost immediately became apparent that Williams and McCrary were the more effective options.

Williams carried the ball 10 times for 41 yards and was productive in the passing game leading the team with five receptions for 23 yards.

The second-year running back out of BYU was shifty in the open field and finished his runs, contrary to Hill who struggled to get much of anything going.

Even McCrary, an undrafted rookie out of Division-II Saginaw Valley State, was efficient with his carries carrying the ball five times for 31 yards on a team-best 6.2 yards per carry.

Williams and McCrary both made the most of their touches. Hill did not. It’s as simple as that.

It’s probably too early to suggest that either Williams or McCrary could usurp Hill for the No. 3 running back job, but it does seem to be trending in that direction.

Hill’s best selling point is his special teams abilities as the former fourth-round pick played 46 percent of special-teams snaps a year ago — good for sixth on the team.

He’s arguably the Ravens’ best gunner, but that is a role that could go to other players if need be. Even rookie first-round pick Odafe Oweh was serving as a gunner in punt coverage on Saturday.

Next. Ravens: 4 players who clinched a roster spot on Saturday. dark

Justice Hill isn’t a roster lock —at least not anymore. And while his spot isn’t in jeopardy just yet, he’ll need to finish strong to hold off the upstart duo of Williams and McCrary.