2010 NFL Draft Prospect
Ht: 6’ 5” 230 lbs.
Strengths: Size, Arm Strength, Production, Leadership, Decision Making
Weaknesses: Accuracy, Footwork, Level of Competition, Offence
If Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller can follow up his fantastic 2008 season (3,725 yards and 36 TD) with another superb year, the 6’5” 230lbs, 2008 All-MAC 3rd team pick will be in serious contention for the right to be the first QB drafted in 2010. Provided, of course, that Sam Bradford stays in Oklahoma.
Hiller has become only the second Western Michigan QB to throw for 30+ TD in a season and more than 3,000 yards twice in a career. His 36 TD broke the school single season record as well. He now has 76 TD in three years (he missed 2006 with a knee injury and will be a fifth year senior in 2009) and has passed for more than 8,000 yards. The only thing left for Hiller is a Bowl victory.
The Broncos lost to Cincinnati in the 2007 Independence Bowl and then got thumped by Rice 38-14 in the 2008 Texas Bowl. It’s also unlikely, but Hiller could contend for a Heisman Trophy as well next year.
Since arm strength seems to be the end all for quarterbacks anymore, we can start there with Hiller’s strengths. His arm strength is excellent, one of the best in college football, better than Bradford and Colt McCoy. Hiller also possesses prototype pocket passer size and projects as that rarity in the pros. He sees the field very well and will generally make good decisions. He seems to have learned quite a bit from his down 2007 year after the injury (20 TD, 15 INT) and showed much improved decision making in 2008. He’s accurate from the pocket and has good feel for blitz pick up. On deep throws, he consistently puts the ball over the receivers shoulder and gets very good trajectory. Hiller should take on even more of a leadership role in 2009.
Despite being a 64.5% passer, Hiller does not consistently hit targets on short to intermediate routes. Western Michigan’s offence gives him lots of time and lots of open lanes to find targets. With receivers Jamarko Simmons, Schneider Julien, Juan Nunez and TE Brandon Ledbetter, Hiller had plenty of options to choose from in the passing game, and with the graduations of Simmons, Julien and Ledbetter, Hiller will have to prove he can repeat his impressive performance surrounded by less skilled players. Playing in a spread offence, he will need time to adjust to a pro offence and will need work on his footwork. His delivery could be faster as well.
There are quite a few questions about Hiller because of his offence, surrounding talent for much of his career (including emerging RB Brandon West) and his level of competition. That said, his size and arm are NFL caliber and with coaching he can improve on his flaws. Right now Hiller projects as a 3rd or 4th round pick but it’s early (very early) and Hiller could explode this year and push his name into first round consideration, if not #1 overall.