Five players had 14.5 sacks or more in the NFL last season. Jordan Hill would join their ranks in 2015 if he can sustain the pace he set over the last six games of 2014 when he recorded 5.5 sacks. Only Sam Adams, Cortez Kennedy and Brandon Mebane recorded more sacks (7.5) than Hill (7.0) as Seahawk defensive tackles over their first two years in the league. Expectations have been raised for a player who was clearly missed during the playoff run last season.
His first few sacks came from simply being in the right place at the right time as Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett flushed the quarterback into Hill’s arms. Good fortune does not last for six games. Hill gained confidence and started making individual plays. His best play might have been his amazing interception of a pass Shaun Hill was trying to spike into the turf.
It will now be about consistency. Expecting Hill to collect 14+ sacks is foolish. Hoping for 10+ is not out of the question. A solid contribution would be 6.0 or more.
Hill needs to grow as a run defender as well. Teams will exploit his presence on the field if he cannot stop the run, which will force the Seahawks to limit his snaps and reduce his potential pass rushing impact. He does not need to be a Mebane-level mauler, but anything he can do to become a viable run defender will unlock his greater potential.