Here is an interesting little tidbit on the team’s website that you might have missed recently. In an article written by Mike Prisuta reflecting on some conversations that he had with Pittsburgh Steelers starting guard Ramon Foster about how OTAs and minicamp went, he gave an unsolicited shoutout to cornerback Mike Hilton.
Now, he may be an underdog, but Hilton is probably a name that you know by now because we have talked about him several times so far over the course of the offseason. You will recall that we have talked about the fact that on days William Gay had off, the team would give him some reps with the first-team defense in the slot, where he ordinarily would be playing with the third team.
According to Prisuta, Foster was asked about what he saw that impressed him the most during OTAs. Remember, the lineman sat out virtually all of the spring drills because he was recovering from a surgery, so he actually did do quite a bit of observing.
While he mentioned several different things, he reserved a special note for Hilton. “I had to ask Kevin Colbert about him”, he said. “Who is this guy? He’s comfortable going with the ones. He’s a guy that’s always making a play. He’s shifty, he doesn’t look rattled”.
Now I’m not about to give Foster a job in the team’s scouting department honing in on slot cornerbacks, but I do think that his comments are worth noting, if simply due to the fact that it shows that Hilton’s teammates were forced to take notice of him because he was doing notable things when given the opportunity.
Coming out as an undrafted free agent last season, the Ole Miss product found his way at some point during the regular season onto the Steelers’ practice squad, and, obviously, he was re-signed to a Reserve/Future contract after the season ended.
A former teammate of fellow Steeler Senquez Golson, the two made up their starting cornerbacks during the 2014 season because the former second-round draft pick declared early and was taken by Pittsburgh in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Hilton stayed another year and didn’t get drafted, but as we fast forward into their careers, both of them are pitted against one another for a potential spot in the Steelers’ secondary as a specialist in the slot.
Both of them are roughly the same height at around 5’9”, so they are diminutive for the position, but Hilton showed a willingness to tackle and lay a big hit on his college tape. He will have an opportunity during training camp and the preseason to state his case for the 53-man roster, potentially taking a job away from his former college teammate in the process.