Steelers Spotlight: Mike Hilton
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a roster full of stars that shine bright. There are a lot of players on the team that may not be in the spotlight, however, but are still just as essential. Mike Hilton is one of those players. His time in the NFL only began a few years ago, but he is slowly making himself a necessity for the Steelers.
Hilton started his journey to the NFL in 2012 when he began attending the University of Mississippi. In his first season, Hilton played in 12 games and started in four. He finished with 33 combined tackles, two sacks, two pass deflection, and two forced fumbles. It was a successful first season as a freshman. The following year, he started 11 games, had 11 forced fumbles, and 52 combined tackles. Hilton lead the team in tackles his junior year and finished his last season with a career total of 226 combined tackles, 24 pass deflections, six interceptions, four forced fumbles, and three sacks.
Once Hilton graduated from Ole Miss, he was projected to go undrafted in the NFL draft. He became a priority free agent and attended his alma maters’ pro day. Hilton was ranked high as a safety prospect and received positive reviews for his overall skills, but the NFL scouts thought his ability to have a professional career would be hindered by his small stature. However, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Hilton as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He was released from the team a few months later. Hilton signed to the New England Patriots’ practice squad later that year but was also released by that team.
Hilton was eventually signed to the Steelers’ practice squad in December of 2016. He didn’t appear in any games that season, but he signed a reserve/future contract in 2017. Hilton was named the starting nickelback to begin the regular season that year. He finished that season with 64 combined tackles, six pass deflections, four sacks, and two interceptions. After sustaining an elbow injury during the 2018 season, Hilton finished the year with 57 combined tackles, eight pass deflections, one sack, and one interception.
The 2019 season has begun and Hilton has been making plays for the Steelers. While the team has not had the best record so far, Hilton recorded his first interception of the season against the Baltimore Ravens. While his professional career has not been one that is often highlighted, Mike Hilton is just getting started.