Once upon a time undrafted, Mike Hilton is ‘excited’ about getting to pick his next team

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Allison Koehler
·2 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Free-agent cornerback Mike Hilton discussed being a first-time unrestricted free agent with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan on Monday’s “Movin’ the Chains.”

“I’m excited. I know how hard I’ve been working for this opportunity,” shared Hilton. “Being in this situation — from being an undrafted guy — I’m blessed to be in this position.”

Jacksonville and New England’s loss was Pittsburgh’s gain. In 2016, he was cut by both teams in a span of two weeks, and the Steelers snapped him up as a late-season add to their practice squad. He was signed to a reserve/futures contract in January 2017 and received contracts in one-year increments for three seasons.

Related

Steelers add defensive depth, sign LB Shaq Riddick and CB Mike Hilton

Hilton thrived in the nickel position and said it’s a perfect spot for him because of his physicality. “It’s something I take pride in,” he said. “Teams probably realize that if you have a guy that can play that slot position, you can do a lot defensively. Me being a physical guy, it plays to my strengths.”

With his versatility and ability to disrupt an offense, whichever team scores Hilton will immediately improve their defense. From running backs to tight ends and quarterbacks, Hilton set the edge, he can cover, he can blitz.

Per Pro Football Focus, Hilton played 323 of his 510 snaps in the slot last season. He also lined up at free safety, cornerback and several other positions in the box.

The do-it-all defensive back was the star of the secondary in 2020. Hilton racked up a career-high three interceptions in 12 games (he missed four games due to a shoulder injury). One of them was a game-sealing pick of Indianapolis Colts’ Philip Rivers, which helped earn him the AFC Defensive Player of the Week in December.

It’s doubtful the Steelers will have cap space to re-sign Hilton to a contract worthy of his talents. While he’ll be sorely missed in Pittsburgh, he deserves a big payday.

List

Ranking the Steelers most important restricted free agents