The Cincinnati Bengals have signed cornerback Troy Hill from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, the team announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the team waived cornerback Chris Lewis- Harris to make room for Hill.
This isn't a surprising move since the Bengals are dealing with a banged-up secondary that features their top three corners dealing with injuries. Starting corners Leon Hall and Adam Jones are listed as questionable to play Sunday. Dre Kirkpatrick is also dealing with an ankle injury, though he's listed as probable to play Sunday. The Bengals also recently placed Darqueze Dennard on season-ending Injured/Reserve, leaving their cornerback spot very thin and hurting as they hit the final stretch of the regular season.
With the way this cornerback class was bunched together, both myself and Sam Monson actually saw Hill as one of the five best available. Our sixth-highest graded player at the position, Hill allowed just 435 yards and a quarterback rating of 63.9 on passes thrown into his coverage. His 11 pass breakups were tied for second in the class, and he added an interception for good measure.
Our own Anthony Cosenza interviewed Hill during the NFLPA Bowl game following Ohio State's win during the National Championship game. Hill had a good showing for the Bengals in training camp and the preseason, but the Bengals ultimately felt better going with the more experience Lewis-Harris as that sixth and final corner on the 53-man roster.
As for Lewis-Harris, he's in his fourth NFL season after being signed by the Bengals as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2012. He's been on the practice squad at times while getting called up and playing in games in each of his four seasons in Cincinnati. However, Lewis-Harris has appeared in just 17 career games, five of which came this season with a variety of injuries at cornerback.
Unfortunately for Lewis-Harris, he's dealing with a rib injury that caused him to miss every practice this week and was listed as doubtful to play Sunday vs the Cleveland Browns. It's possible the Bengals will look to re-sign him next week if he clears waivers.
Even if Hall and Jones are able to play Sunday, Hill will likely be active since the Bengals have only five corners on the roster now with rookie Josh Shaw being the fourth. If either Jones or Hall miss this game, Hill could suddenly go from the practice squad to playing significant snaps vs the Browns.
Welcome to the roster, rookie.