With the 31st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals nabbed Michigan defensive back Daxton Hill. The pick was made because the team didn't anticipate Jessie Bates returning and Hill was pegged as his eventual replacement.
That's where we're at now, as Bates departed this offseason for greener pastures and now it'll be Dax Hill as one of the starting safeties for 2023.
We didn't get to see much of Hill in 2022 and when he was on the field, it was mostly as a special teams contributor. He made some rookie mistakes but the expectation is that when he's more accustomed to Lou Anarumo's defense, he'll be a big-time player for this secondary.
What should Bengals fans expect from Daxton Hill in 2023?
The Bengals didn't spend a first-round pick on Hill for him not to start at some point and we're now at the point where he will be starting. He got to learn from Bates and Vonn Bell as a rookie and now he'll be tasked with replacing Bates and contributing in a young secondary.
There are going to be mistakes from Hill as he enters the first year of starting but Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic tabbed him as the Bengals' breakout player for this year. It's not hard to see why either, as he'll be learning from one of the best defensive minds in the league.
Fans should expect growing pains from Hill but, as we saw with Cam Taylor-Britt last year, once he figures it out, it should hopefully be mostly uphill (pun not intended) from there.