The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to a deal with cornerback Mike Hilton, according to Ian Rapoport.
The #Bengals aren’t done. They’re signing former #Steelers CB Mike Hilton, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2021
A former undrafted free agent (2016) by way of Ole Miss, Hilton has spent his last four seasons with the Steelers after initially bouncing between the practice squads of the Jaguars, Patriots and Steelers. After signing a futures contract with Pittsburgh during the 2017 offseason, Hilton went on to make the 53-man roster and has been with the team ever since.
This past season, Hilton recorded 51 total tackles (42 solo), eight tackles for loss, three interceptions, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. He earned a 68.9 Pro Football Focus grade, which was actually the second-lowest of his career.
Hilton’s best year actually came in 2017, his first full season, when he recorded 64 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, eight QB hits, four sacks, six pass deflections and two interceptions in 16 games (four starts), earning him an outstanding 83.3 PFF grade.
Hilton is @PFF’s 4th ranked FA cornerback and should fill the #Bengals need for a slot CB nicely. He has been top 10 in defensive stops among CBs every season since entering the league in 2017. https://t.co/HugJIX0FRs— Evan McPhillips (@emcphil) March 16, 2021
Though Hilton has played to that level in the ensuing seasons, this is still a very nice pickup for a Bengals defense in desperate need of more playmakers. Hilton is similar to Darqueze Dennard in that he’s a very good run defender for a defensive back that typically plays very close to the line of scrimmage.
I’d venture to guess between Hilton and Vonn Bell, you won’t find many, if any secondary tandems as physical as these two will be. The Bengals will need very bit of it in a division that features 1,000-yard runners Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and Lamar Jackson.
This comes just a few hours after the Bengals landed another free agent cornerback in Chidobe Awuzie and all but ensures William Jackson III will not be back in Cincinnati.
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