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1991: Fast wideout Hill can stay in Miami
MIAMI -- In the quarterback draft of 1983, the Dolphins got Dan Marino. In the wide receiver draft of 1991, they got Randal Hill.
The scenarios are similar, and the Dolphins must be hoping the results will be the same.
Marino was chosen No. 27 in the first round, after John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Ken O`Brien and Tony Eason. It was said that he mysteriously had slipped. Marino said he had something to prove, and he has -- for eight years.
When Miami`s No. 23 selection came Sunday, Raghib Ismail had taken millions and fled to Canada, and Herman Moore, Alvin Harper and Mike Pritchard were already gone.
It left Miami to choose Hill, the hometown favorite and former Hurricane star. It`s being said that he slipped because he lacks courage, runs out of bounds, can`t catch and can`t take a hit.
Hill and the Dolphins are glad he slipped. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said that the teams that let him go will be sorry.
``Thanks to his detractors,`` Rosenhaus said. ``They will regret it. Dan Marino-to-Randal Hill will make the teams who bypassed him regret it. It will happen so fast that they might not feel the sting. The Dolphins made his dream become a reality.``
Like Marino in 1983, Hill believes he has something to prove, and he`s looking forward to having the opportunity with the Dolphins.
``I enjoy proving people wrong,`` said the 5-10, 177-pound Hill, who had 107 catches for 1,643 yards and 11 touchdowns at UM. ``When I came out of high school, they said I couldn`t play wide receiver. They were wrong then, and they`ll be wrong again.``
Miami wanted Hill, a Killian High School graduate, because he fills a need at receiver and was the fastest player in the draft.
``When you have a quarterback like Dan Marino, the greatest dropback passer that the game has seen, you have to get him some weapons to utilize,`` Dolphins coach Don Shula said.
``Hill ran the fastest 40 (4.3) that we`ve timed out here. He had a good workout, and in the practices at the Senior Bowl, he put on a clinic against the top defensive backs in the country.``
So far it has been speed over power, the opposite of a year ago when Miami selected offensive linemen Richmond Webb and Keith Sims in the opening rounds. Only Ismail was regarded as faster than Hill, and Shula said, ``It would be a good race.``
In the third round Miami, using a selection obtained from Atlanta for cornerback Tim McKyer, drafted Aaron Craver of Fresno State, a 5-11, 214-pound running back with 4.4 speed.
The Dolphins have nine selections today, including a No. 12 in the McKyer deal, to address their defensive needs, primarily a down lineman or outside linebacker with the ability to rush the passer.
``In Craver we drafted by far the best athlete as opposed to drafting a need,`` said Tom Heckert, Miami`s director of college scouting.
Wide receiver was a concern: Mark Duper is 32 and Mark Clayton 30.
Duper had a good season, but injuries hampered Clayton.
``Some teams draft track guys who play football,`` Heckert said. ``We drafted a football player who happens to be fast.
``I think we`re extremely fortunate to have a guy of his caliber available to us in the 23rd pick. I was surprised that he slid down. I thought a number of teams ahead of that were looking for a speed receiver and might take him.``
Hill was a little upset when he was passed twice by Dallas and his former coach, Jimmy Johnson.
``I had mixed emotions about it,`` he said. ``Maybe he just didn`t have enough faith in me.``
It`s hard not to have faith in a guy who can rattle off the 40 in 4.29, 4.22 and 4.27 clockings.
``The things people have said about me are things I can`t stop,`` Hill said. ``All I can do is play and show them.
``I can`t express in words how I feel about being able to stay home. It`s something I always dreamed about. I want to come in and contribute right away. I won`t be a holdout. I don`t believe in it.
``It`s hard to imagine just catching a pass from Dan Marino in practice. He`s going to the Hall of Fame. I`ll also have a chance to learn from Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. They`ve been to the playoffs and Super Bowl. They know.``
Perhaps the overriding question about Hill is his end-zone celebrations.
``It`ll have to be confined up here,`` he said. ``You`re playing for money, not just for fun, and you have to be more respectful of your opponents.``