Once the NFL draft concluded on Saturday night, a flurry of activity ensued where undrafted were courted by teams for another opportunity to continue their NFL careers. The Cincinnati Bengals signed 14 undrafted free agents, including Indiana State wide receiver Justin Hilton, who generated 72 receptions for 1,224 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns during his final two collegiate seasons.
Justin takes a moment out of his day to chat with us at Cincy Jungle.
There might be some that don’t know much about you. How would you describe yourself to Cincinnati Bengals fans?
Justin Hilton: I would describe myself as a hardhat guy or blue-collar guy that is self driven and very motivated. I’ve had to take the path less traveled through the JUCO ranks and then an FCS school to get where I’m at now. High-energy type guy that likes to make things fun while working towards a common goal. Things I enjoy in my free time would be spending time with family and friends and spending time on the lake (fishing or watersports).
What did it feel like when the Bengals called after the NFL draft?
Hilton: It was the best phone call I have received in my life. It was a very exciting moment for my family and I.
Was it head coach Marvin Lewis or wide receivers coach James Urban that called?
Hilton: Coach Lewis called my agent and Coach Urban contacted me.
Were there offers from other teams and if so, what convinced you to sign with the Bengals?
Hilton: I had offers from two other teams, and what convinced me to sign with the Bengals was that it was the best fit for me. I personally liked that the Bengals are young on offense and as a team are defiantly heading into the right direction of competing for championships.
What receiver in the NFL would you compare yourself to?
Hilton: Mike Wallace.
Would you consider yourself a homerun threat or a possession receiver (or both)?
Hilton: Been utilized throughout my career as a homerun hitter but have the ability to do both.
It’s third-and-five at the 50-yard line and they call your number. Is there a particular route that you’d prefer?
Hilton: Depends on coverage, but we would run a play called sticks where we would drive to seven yards in this case and come right back down our stem to catch the ball and move the chains.
Do you feel more comfortable against man or zone converges?
Hilton: Feel comfortable either way.
The Bengals aren’t afraid to promote undrafted free agents as starters and the roster is by no means set. Are you excited for the opportunity to compete for a role on the 53-man roster?
I am very excited to compete to for a role and plan to do so. I am willing to do what the next guy wont or can’t do. I am a football player first and foremost and can contribute other places along with wide receiver.
What was your favorite team growing up?
Hilton: Miami Dolphins
Did you have a favorite player?
Hilton: Deion Sanders, Randy Moss
Who was your role model growing up?
Hilton: My father probably had the most influence of my life as he was my AAU basketball coach as well.
Many thanks best of luck to Justin.