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Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Bengals sign second-round pick Jeremy Hill

By Coley Harvey

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals added at least one more draft pick to the fold over the weekend when second-round draft pick Jeremy Hill signed his rookie contract.

The team hasn't yet made the signing official, but the running back tweeted Sunday that he had signed.

Just inked my deal with the Bengals #WhoDeyNation gonna be a great season

— Jeremy Hill (@JeremyHill33) May 25, 2014
 
Per the rookie wage scale that was part of the latest collective bargaining agreement, Hill should take up around $680,000 of cap space in 2014, with bonuses spread across the life of the four-year deal that could top $1 million. His salary will naturally go up over the course of the deal. When official financial terms come available, we'll provide them.

With Hill's addition, the Bengals now are two players short of having their full draft class signed. First-round cornerback Darqueze Dennard remains unsigned, as does third-round defensive end selection Will Clarke.

Along with Hill, the Bengals' fourth- through seventh-round draft picks have signed. Fourth-round pick Russell Bodine, fifth-round pick AJ McCarron, sixth-round pick Marquis Flowers and seventh-round selections Lavelle Westbrooks and James Wright have all inked their deals. They join the 12 undrafted free agents who were signed just after the draft.

When it comes to using Hill, the Bengals could have a three-back rotation that involves second-year player Giovani Bernard and veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Bernard is more of a true speed threat who has the ability to break off big runs and runs after the catch if given space. He'll be the Bengals' lateral runner, while also getting put into the slot on occasion. Green-Ellis is a physical runner who will move the ball between the tackles. Hill is a combination of the two. He has the speed and athleticism to be a threat on the outside, the size and relative fresh legs to be an inside bruiser, and the good hands to be a passing option out of the backfield. Hill was LSU's third-leading receiver last season and had just one fumble in two seasons.

His college career was cut short by one arrest and a conviction. In July 2013, Hill pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge after admitting to punching a man in the outside a bar the previous April. The incident was caught on tape. It also happened while he was already on probation following a January 2012 guilty plea that stemmed from his sexual relationship with a then-14-year-old girl at his high school.

The Bengals believe their pre-draft homework was enough to convince them the incidents are well in the running back's past. He also says he has matured, and severed ties with others who helped put him in those situations.