Troy Hill’s Sunday efforts are like a perfect autumnal hike; but you might step on a road apple or two while you gaze at the stunning vistas.
Cornerback is one of those positions where fans tend to gnash their teeth when coverage is blown far more than they notice solid efforts. So Troy Hill has caught the wrath of Los Angeles Rams fans a number of times after letting a receiver slip behind him, even though he has actually carved out a mostly successful career since arriving in Los Angeles as an undrafted rookie via the New England Patriots before joining the Cincinnati Bengals.
As a rookie back in 2016, Hill climbed past Coty Sensabaugh on the depth chart and was impressive in four starts. He earned three more starts in 2017, and last season surpassed guys like Sam Shields to start seven games, while Aqib Talib was sidelined with a calf injury. Hill usually performed well, though slip ups against the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are certainly memorable. It’s not unusual for Hill to be one the team’s highest rated defenders on Pro Football Focus, but then he’ll get burnt multiple times by a team’s second or third receiver every now and then.
Clearly, the Rams enjoy having Hill in their stable of defensive backs, as they recently extended him with new two-year deal through 2020. If Hill can unearth the consistency he displayed as a rookie, he will be able to take his game to another level.
Nickell Robey-Coleman will continue to be the Rams’ “Slot God” which leaves Hill to compete with David Long, Jr., Dominique Hatfield (roster preview). Kevin Peterson (roster preview), Ramon Richards (roster preview), and Darious Williams (roster preview), to be the top cornerback off the bench. The stiffest competition may come from Long, a rookie who the Rams picked in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Peterson looked pretty good in the preseason a year ago before injuring his ACL and missing the entire season.
Hill and Long should be able to separate themselves from the pack and emerge as the top dogs behind Talib and Peters. As a third-round selection, Long has a chance to really impress, but Hill is a player that the Rams staff has tapped plenty of times and will likely be in the mix again this season.
Chances of Making the Final Roster (8/10)
Even if Long excels and the Rams eventually move on from Hill, it would more likely be next season than this season according to the structure of his new deal. Hill should be a Ram this season, and possibly beyond.