Pro Football Focus has ranked Pittsburgh Steelers slot cornerback Mike Hilton as the 27th-best free agent available this offseason. Considered by some to be the best nickel cornerback in football, Hilton has been tremendous playmaker since arriving in Pittsburgh in 2016.
While Hilton is adept in coverage, he truly separates himself from others at the position as a blitzer and forcing turnovers.
He had another outstanding campaign in 2020, where he tallied 51 total tackles, eight tackles-for-loss, seven passes defended, three interceptions and three sacks. PFF views Hilton’s versatility as his greatest asset.
“Hilton epitomizes the do-it-all slot corner who can cover in both man and zone, play the run and blitz effectively,” the PFF staff writes. “The Steelers’ scheme allows him to show off all of those skills, and he’s quietly been one of the most valuable corners in the league since 2017.”
Losing Hilton in free agency would be a tough pill for the Steelers to swallow, and PFF agrees. The site is predicting Hilton to re-sign with Pittsburgh on a four-year, $12 million deal. It would carry a $4 million signing bonus.
With as cap-strapped as the Steelers are, re-signing Hilton should be their top priority in free agency, ensuring their defense remains intact and they hold onto one of their top playmakers.
Undrafted out of Ole Miss in 2016, Hilton bounced around practice squads before finally landing in Pittsburgh, where he has played his entire career since. Hilton has amassed 237 total tackles, 32 pass breakups, 30 tackles-for-loss, 9.5 sacks, seven interceptions and five fumble recoveries over four seasons with the Steelers.
Free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. on March 17 with the official start of the 2021 league year.