Cincinnati Bengals should consider CB Mike Hilton
Even if the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to go all-in on the offensive line in free agency, they should try to sign some defensive players too. The Bengals are in the need of cornerbacks and there is a good possibility that William Jackson III will not get resigned.
The Bengals could attempt to sign Pittsburgh Steelers slot cornerback Mike Hilton. Hilton is very underrated. Hilton doesn’t get much attention in way of a decent paycheck, but he is one of the best in the league.
Sportrac lists Cincinnati as being the favorite to sign Hilton with a market value set at three years for $21 million. Hilton would help the Bengals save cap space since William Jackson III should be demanding at least $12 million a year.
Why the Bengals like Mike Hilton?
The best part of Hilton’s game is his run-stopping abilities. Hilton has a super quick reaction time to the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. Hilton can also be used to rush the passer due to his speed and gap presence.
In Hilton’s first four full seasons with the Steelers, his stats show the ability to tackle opponents behind the line of scrimmage. He already has 9.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. Hilton has 237 total tackles and 186 solo tackles.
Hilton has improved in his weaknesses
Hilton has always been weakest in coverage. The Steelers moved Hilton to nickel in zone coverage because of his weakness. In the slot, Hilton’s coverage game has improved greatly playing less man to man. Hilton has only seven career interceptions.
Four of Hilton’s seven career interceptions came in 2020. Twenty of Hilton’s 32 career passes defended have come in the last two seasons which is very good for the slot.
Hilton would be a very aggressive slot CB for the Bengals. With this move, it would allow current Bengals CB and 2020 free agent signee Trae Waynes to move to his natural position at outside CB. Hilton’s added intensity will add leadership to a young defense. The Bengals will have to make an offer early.
Hilton will be targeted in free agency due to the evolution of the high-powered passing offenses. Due to Hilton being a true nickel corner, his money demands will be a cheaper possibility for the Bengals than Jackaons since they could be playing the expensive route with the offensive line.