Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas
We don’t know exactly what kind of draft-pick compensation the Falcons had to give to the Rams yet, but credit Dimitroff with seeing a need for help in the secondary and addressing it. Also give him credit for not panicking and going after some aging player.
Hill is a guy who still has some upside. In fact, Hill is the kind of first-round talent the Falcons haven’t had on their roster since ... well, DeAngelo Hall, but that’s a bad example. Atlanta went through last season kind of patching things together at cornerback and they seemed destined to do the same thing this year.
They didn’t have any blue-chip corners and appeared ready to go into the season with Chris Houston and Brent Grimes as the starters and rookie Chris Owens and second-year pro Chevis Jackson as the backups. Houston’s been good at times, but not so good at other times. He came into the league as a second-round draft pick and Grimes came in as an undrafted free agent. Owens and Jackson were third-round choices.
There’s a belief in the NFL that top-flight cornerbacks come only in the first round. Hill was a first-round pick by the Rams in 2006. He had a very good rookie season, but has been limited the last two seasons by injuries.
Is he a true shutdown corner? You can’t call him that at the moment. But he was viewed as a first-round talent at one point and he has the potential to develop into a shutdown corner. Even if he’s just a decent corner, he’s probably an upgrade.
Although the Falcons love Grimes’ athletic ability, they’re concerned about other teams trying to exploit his size. Grimes is listed as 5-foot-9, which may be generous. Hill’s listed as 5-foot-10. He’s not known for being the most physical corner.
But Hill can cover receivers and that’s something the Falcons really needed.