Mike Tomlin On Steelers CB Mike Hilton: ‘He’s Made Plays’

With two regular season games now in the books for the 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers, cornerback Mike Hilton has played 89 defensive snaps in total. In Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings, Hilton recorded 8 total defensive tackles and another one on special teams. If that’s not enough, the former undrafted free agent out of Mississippi has also registered one quarterback hit after blitzing off the edge and another on the Vikings fake punt attempt.

“I just wanted to let him know that I’m here,” Hilton said of his hit on Vikings quarterback Case Keenum during Sunday’s game at Heinz Field. “If I can’t get a clean shot, I just wanted to make him feel my presence and I was able to do that.”

During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to explain what it is that Hilton has done over the course of the last few months to establish the role that he now has in the defense.

“He’s made plays,” Tomlin said. “We dont try to over analyze it, man, we try to put guys in position to make plays and when we do and they do, we acknowledge it and that’s what we’ve done throughout this process with him in particular. We’ve given him an opportunity to make plays, he’s largely made those plays and he’s ascending in his role within our group because of it.”

Of Hilton’s 10 total defensive tackles so far through two games, three have come against the run with the seven others coming after passes were completed. Four of those tackles go in the books as stops as well. It’s worth noting, however, that Hilton has allowed 8 total receptions for 51 yards on 9 total targets while playing in the slot so far this season, according to Pro Football Focus, and thus that’s definitely an area to watch of his game moving forward into the season.


  • falconsaftey43

    Completion % when targeted is high, but the yards per catch is great at only 6.4. He’s been a consistently strong tackler, which is something we’ve had issues with in the past by our CBs. He’s off to a nice start.

  • srdan

    I’m not saying he is as good or better than Hayden. However, in my opinion his emergence has done as much for the defense over the first two games as the Hayden signing.

    That QB hit I just saw it happen out of the corner of my eye. Immediately I said “man Shazier is fast.” Until I saw 31 get up.

    Hiltons blitzing ability is a big weapon on this defense.

  • The Tony

    Definitely reminds me of a youthful William Gay

  • Youthful William Gay? That shouldn’t inspire confidence since many people hated him way back when.

  • Bryant Eng

    Yard per attempt is a better metric, and 5.67 is a better average. No way for me to know at this point how many coverage snaps he has logged, but I imagine his yard/coverage snap is under 2. Not bad.

  • Chad H

    Yep I was one of those fans. Gay was really bad his first year.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I was waiting for this article! Ladies and Gentlemen… your starting Slot CB for the 2017 season! Who saw this coming as soon as the draft was over?! But I will say, thank you Lord for not letting Mike Tomlin overthink this, even if Hilton still has the usual growing pains to go through. Oh, and thank you for not allowing Tomlin to have some insane fallback plan that could have gotten in the way like Valentino Blake or some mind-boggler. We all saw the TC updates. We all watched the pre-season (well, you know). And the choice for who should get the crack was quite clear to most of us. Hoorah and kudos for sanity!

  • Steelerfan4lifeinAZ

    His closing speed is ridiculous !!! His motor is non-stop…. love it

  • The Tony

    I should have specified. His athleticism and ability to get to get to the QB

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    BINGO to you and Falcon. Slot CB is the hardest CB to play. They are usually at least somewhat in off coverage and the slot WR has the whole field to work with. After just 2 games the kids arrow is pointing up.

  • Douglas Andrews

    We definitely got the better Ole Miss CB. I though Senquez Goldson was going to make a run at the 53 but turns out it was Hilton who made the real push for a roster spot. It’s nice to see a sure tackler who looks great as a blitzer. He’s been a nice surprise defender

  • SteelCityDefense

    Need to dig deeper, as in how many of those catches resulted in a first down. Doesn’t matter if he gives up 8 catches if they the team still gets off the field

  • Actually, he was really good in the slot in his first year or two. That’s why they let go of Bryant McFadden. It wasn’t until Gay was the starting CB opposite of Ike Taylor that he earned most of his hate. They let him go and most fans were thrilled. They weren’t happy when he was brought back a year later. They seemed to have let go of that hate for him the past few years as he has played well in his role. Posters have also had other guys to ridicule like Antwon Blake and Cortez Allen.

  • GoSteelerz

    Not only that, what is not indicated by these stats is the number of times QB’s have looked his way but threw elsewhere because he had his guy covered. I’ve seen it numerous times. He’s done well, let’s hope it continues, I have been and still am rooting for him!

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    IMHO, Gay was never as bad as people thought. He, in my mind was a technically sound player who was rarely out of position. After he got some experience he was solid.

  • Alan Tman

    This guy can really lower the boom!!! He’s a playmaker and seems to be very intelligent, and I can’t wait to see what he can do once he gets comfortable in his role, and starts sniffing things out, and starts taking some chances to make some plays. I wonder what Senquez Golson is thinking watching this ex teammate playing his position?

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    second that

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    not only that,what’s really important to this defense looking pretty good early on that’s been so terrible over the yrs that most probably blocked it out and try not to think about is 3rd down completion % and how many of those yrds were converted

  • GoSteelerz

    Yeah, we still have our moments, like that 3rd and 20 conversion, but you are right, we are doing better overall on 3rd down, and Hilton is a part of that with some timely tackles preventing 3rd down conversions. That’s a good point.