One Cincinnati Bengals player who turned heads at OTAs

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The transition from safety to cornerback seems to be going pretty well for third-year defender Dax Hill so far. After playing the first two years of his career at safety, he was shifted to corner this offseason in order to maximize his skillset, and he was recently listed as standout player from the team's recent OTAs by Ben Baby of ESPN.

Switching positions mid-career definitely isn't easy, but Hill has clearly done his best to embrace the change, and people -- both inside and outside of the organization -- are noticing. From Baby:

"Hill entered the offseason in a precarious spot. The 2022 first-round pick was the starting free safety last season in an experiment that didn't pan out. Hill was moved to outside cornerback, where he appears to be taking charge in a position battle with DJ Turner, a second-round pick from 2023 who started 12 games. Hill has taken the move in stride and was disruptive in 7-on-7 drills during the team's mandatory minicamp. He's shaping up to remain a useful player for the Bengals as they enter training camp."

Hill embracing a major change

This is obviously great news for the Bengals, who selected Hill in the first round of the NFL Draft just two years ago. This report from Baby also jives with recent comments from Hill himself about how well the transition has been going.

"It's been great so far," Hill said earlier this month. "Obviously a transition that I've been stacking every day, trying to learn something new every day and critiquing myself whether it's good or bad, and really I feel like my transition from safety to corner's really helped me in terms of just knowing certain calls, say a moving piece on offense happens knowing certain calls or checks to get into."

Hill played some cornerback in college at the University of Michigan, so the position isn't completely foreign to him, but it's still something that he has to wrap his mind around after becoming accustomed to suiting up at the safety spot. Shifting back into the mindset of a corner as opposed to a safety is an ongoing process.

"Just the mental part of it," Hill replied when asked about the most difficult aspect of the change. "Getting over plays, you're not gonna really stop every play. So having a short-term memory and really just putting it behind me and just moving to the next play. I feel like that's the biggest part of being a corner. You're going against some of the best athletes in the world out there."

Hill will need to continue to impress at his new position at training camp later this summer in order to solidify his spot, and he'll face some stiff competition from guys like DJ Turner, Josh Newton and DJ Ivey, among others when it comes to earning playing time in the cornerback rotation.

But, Hill certainly seems up for the challenge, and there's a real chance that his willingness to embrace a daunting change could have saved his career, or at least his tenure with the Bengals.