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Bengals’ Mike Hilton ranked No. 2 slot corner by PFF

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Free agency is usually considered a key piece in team-building and, if a team hits, can pay dividends. The Cincinnati Bengals have been reaping those rewards, especially in the slot.

Mike Hilton was a very solid piece for four years for the Pittsburgh Steelers, then became a huge free-agency payoff in 2021 for the Bengals, becoming a key piece of the Bengals’ secondary after posting 66 tackles and two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) in his first year in Cincinnati. Now, the entire football world knows about Hilton and he’s getting his well-deserved recognition, especially from the folks at Pro Football Focus.

PFF analyst Anthony Treash ranked his top slot cornerbacks for 2022 and Hilton came in at No. 2, only behind Colts’ CB Kenny Moore.

Hilton’s 84.4 slot coverage grade is fifth in the league since 2017. The veteran finished second among slot cornerbacks — and 13th among all cornerbacks — in WAR last season despite being tasked with much more man coverage in his first year with the Bengals.

Entering his second season with the Bengals, Hilton will continue to take on a leadership role in the secondary as the Bengals also look to work in rookies Dax Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt, creating a lot of potential in the defensive backfield. The early returns are very promising.

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Cincinnati Bengals early 53-man roster projection before training camp