Bengals: 4 best-kept secrets on Cincinnati’s current roster

Bengals, Darius Phillips
Bengals, Darius Phillips /
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Bengals, Mike Hilton
Bengals, Mike Hilton Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Mike Hilton, CB, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals completely overhauled the cornerback position in the offseason, and one of their more notable additions came in the form of former division rival, Mike Hilton.

Hilton signed a four-year, $24 million contract with the Bengals in free agency and will slot in as the team’s new starting slot cornerback.

While the position has begun to receive more national praise in recent years with the rise of the nickel formation (essentially the base defense at this point), those who play the position are still searching for their much-deserved praise.

Hilton is chief among them.

PFF recently ranked Hilton as the fourth-best slot corner in the NFL entering the 2021 season. Not only has he excelled in coverage, but Hilton has been an elite pass-rusher and run-stopper from his position.

The 28-year-old has racked up a whopping 41 pressures since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2017. That’s 13 more than any other cornerback has amassed over that same time frame.

On top of that, he’s ranked top-four in run-stop percentage, per PFF, in each of his four seasons as well — with three of the four seasons seeing him rank first in the league.

He’s no slouch in coverage either as PFF has him ranked in the 93rd percentile in slot coverage grade since 2017 too.

Hilton is an impactful player and it shouldn’t be long before he’s making plays in the Bengals’ new-look secondary.