HENDERSON, Nev. — Free-agent running back Jeremy Hill tweeted Sunday that he has signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, three days after the team placed running back Devontae Booker on the reserve/COVID-19 list and two days after it waived undrafted rookie receiver Siaosi Mariner.
It’s official I’m a Raider Now…. #raidernation LETS GET IT
— Jeremy Hill (@JeremyHill33) August 2, 2020
Hill, 27, last played in the NFL in 2018, when he suffered a torn ACL in the New England Patriots‘ season-opening victory over the Houston Texans. He spent the rest of that season on injured reserve and was out of the league last year.
A second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014 out of LSU, Hill rushed for a career-high 1,124 yards with nine touchdowns as a rookie, and his 11 rushing TDs in 2015 tied for the league lead. He has rushed for 2,898 yards in his career, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
Last season, the Raiders scored one touchdown on eight plays from the 1-yard line (12.5%), while the rest of the NFL scored a TD on 59.6% of such plays, according to The Associated Press. Of those eight plays for the Raiders, they were 0-for-4 on run plays from the 1-yard line, 1-for-4 on pass plays.
“We stunk last year — I stunk — inside the 1-yard line,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Thursday. “That will really help our offense if I can call some better plays and give these guys a chance to poke it in from inside the 2- or 3-yard line. That’s where your points per game and all the statistics will improve.
“We got stuffed twice in Green Bay. We got stuffed against Denver. We got stuffed against Tennessee. We got stuffed too many times down inside the 2-yard line. That’s all my fault. We have to address our tight, tight, tight goal-line offense to be a good scoring team.”
The addition of Hill might address that problem, though a team source acknowledged that Hill is a “long shot” to make the Raiders roster.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Hill would give the Raiders a needed “big back” to complement starter Josh Jacobs (5-10, 220), veteran Jalen Richard (5-8, 205), rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. (5-11, 204) and Booker (5-11, 219), along with fullback Alec Ingold (6-1, 240).