Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Mike Hilton has become an important cog in the Steelers secondary. In what seemed like his coming out party versus the Ravens, Hilton had a sack and an interception to go along with 4 solo tackles. Now on his third team in a little over a season, Hilton has beaten out the competition to become the Steelers starting slot corner. It’s a tremendous story for the former undrafted player out of the University of Mississippi. Ironically, he was the teammate of the Steelers second round pick Senquez Golson in 2015. Hilton is everything the team wanted Golson to be, only without having to use a second round pick to get it.
At Mississippi, Hilton played all four positions in the secondary. In fact, in his senior season Hilton played safety the majority of the time. During that season he led all SEC defensive backs in tackles for a loss. That’s easy to imagine when you see the knack for getting in the backfield he’s shown while in Pittsburgh. In 2014 he lead Ole Miss in tackles with 71 while still managing 3 interceptions. His big play ability was evident throughout his college career, and has translated now to the NFL. Coming out of college Hilton went undrafted. He signed as a free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was released shortly after. The New England Patriots signed Hilton to their practice squad for the remainder of the 2016 season. Once again he was released and then signed by the Steelers in this past offseason.
Considered a long shot to even make the practice squad, Hilton defied the odds. Once again his former Ole Miss team-mate came into play. Yet another injury for Senquez Golson opened the door for Hilton to get much-needed reps. The result was a spot on the roster for the unheralded free agent, while Golson was released and remains out of football. The Steelers got the player they wanted from Ole Miss, just not the way they intended.