The Cincinnati Bengals will be replacing the back end of their defense as they have lost Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell in free agency this offseason. After signing Nick Scott recently, it appears the Bengals will now turn over the reigns to Scott and second-year player Dax Hill.
While he didn’t get a ton of snaps in his rookie year, the staff remains confident in Hill as he takes over a starting role in the secondary.
Defensive backs coach Rob Livingston continued to express that confidence when speaking about Hill to Paul Dehner Jr of The Athletic.
“I have a lot of stresses and worries in my life, and he’s not one of them,” Livingston said. “He’s a first-round pick for a reason.”
Bengals DBs coach Rob Livingston on Dax Hill: Glad some of his highs were high and his lows were low. Start with chip on shoulder and ready to go.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) March 20, 2023
“I have a lot of stresses and worries in my life and he’s not one of them. He’s a first-round pick for a reason.”
It’s hard to get a real grasp of what Hill is capable of at this level after his rookie year. Because Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell played in every game, we rarely ever saw Hill get to line up at either safety spot.
Instead, Hill spent much of his rookie season as a backup cornerback due to injuries at the position. That’s a big reason why he didn’t grade out very well at Pro Football Focus, which gave him a 58.1 mark for his first NFL campaign.
However, we did get to see Hill play mostly at free safety during the preseason while Bates was sidelined following his holdout. The results were much better, as Hill earned a 74.8 PFF grade for his two preseason performances.
There is a lot of production that will have to be made up for with the loss of Bates and Bell, but Bengals fans have to feel good about hearing so much confidence in the young safety as he looks to make an impact in his sophomore season.