Hilton Confident After Surprising Year

Steelers Corner Still Has Something to Prove

Josh Rowntree
May 31, 2018 - 11:25 am
Steelers CB Mike Hilton participates in the team's OTA workouts

Josh Rowntree

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With a breakout season under his belt, Steelers corner Mike Hilton still has something to prove. 

Hilton, who battled for a roster spot during last season’s OTAs and training camp, comes into these offseason workouts with a roster spot seemingly secure. But don’t tell Hilton that.

“It’s the same mindset as last year,” Hilton said Wednesday. "Somebody’s here to take my position. I can’t settle. I still have to be out there grinding, working every day and making sure I’m on top of my game. Everything else is going to fall into place."

Last season, Hilton made 48 tackles, intercepted two passes and had four sacks as the team’s slot corner. The results have made Hilton feel better about his game.

“I wouldn’t say it’s easier, but my confidence is a lot higher,” he said. "A year under my belt, with the scheme, with this team, my confidence is a lot higher than last year, so I feel good coming into this year. 

Hilton will have competition at the corner position. Joe Haden and Artie Burns seem to be be locks on the outside. Cam Sutton came on late last year after injury and showed well. Coty Sensabaugh, Brian Allen and Nat Berhe will be fighting for a position as well. 

“Everybody in our group wants to be the guy out there, being the starter and making those plays,” Hilton said. "We’re all behind each other, we push each other and we compete.” 

The Steelers made an effort to bolster the back end of the defense this offseason, drafting two safeties and signing veteran Morgan Burnett. 

"(Burnett) is a veteran,” Hilton added. "He knows the game and has been around. He’s really caught onto the scheme and has been making a lot of plays. Having him back there is going to help our young secondary.”

Improved play in the safety group could mean that Hilton could continue to thrive around the line of scrimmage. 

"I feel comfortable with those guys out there because I know they’re going to do their job,” he said. "They hold onto their man for one more second, that’ll give me a chance to get back there and get pressure or the defensive line to get pressure. So it all works hand-in-hand." 

On top of the new player faces, the Steelers also enhanced the secondary by hiring a new defensive backs coach in Tom Bradley, who replaced Carnell Lake. 

“He’s a real technical sound guy,” Hilton said of Bradley. "He wants everything done this way. If your technique is A-1, you can make a lot of plays.”

Hear more from Hilton below.