The Pittsburgh Steelers have been on a rampage to improve their secondary for the last couple of seasons of Ben Roethlisberger. Just one year ago this time the team was starting Ross Cockrell, William Gay and Sean Davis as their three cornerbacks. Since then, Davis has moved to safety and Artie Burns, Joe Haden, and Mike Hilton now look to be the starting three.
Mike Hilton to start in slot for Steelers
The newest name and most surprising of the new starters are Mike Hilton. Hilton came from nowhere and was a second-year undrafted free agent from Ole Miss. However, he has caught on in training camp and based on reports from the locker room, Hilton will be the one lining up in the nickel.
Hilton getting the nod in the nickel is a bit ironic. In 2015, the Steelers drafted Senquez Golson, an undersized Mississippi cornerback in the second round with the intentions of sticking him in the slot by now. The Steelers somehow got themselves their undersized slot cornerback from Mississippi. It just so happened to be a lesser known cornerback from the Rebels.
The move is a refreshing change for Pittsburgh. William Gay is a fine cornerback, he has a high floor. However, that comes with an extremely low ceiling, and he is the classic “you know what you are getting” player.
Hilton, on the other hand, has a completely unknown upside. He has shown in the preseason that he is able to stay gap discipline against the run, he is a maniac blitzing off of the edge, and he does have the quickness and foot speed to handle shifty receivers in space.
Hilton is a hard working player who exceeded expectations to get to this point. He will be a fun follow all season as the team tries to determine just how high his ceiling can be.