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Rams 2021 free agents: Troy Hill

Hill has overcome many obstacles to get to this point

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Hill has outlasted most of the challenges that he has faced in his football life so far.

Hill was a star senior at St. Bonaventure High School in 2009, only to see the school’s 11-2 record that year vacated because Hill was ruled ineligible. The rules violation — Hill had repeated his freshman year, making him too old to be playing high school football by 2009 — was found out by Oregon, the college program that Hill had given his commitment to, but luckily this did not result in the school withdrawing its offer to him.

A four-year regular on the Ducks defense, Hill played alongside players such as Dion Jordan, DeForest Buckner, Kiko Alonso, and Arik Armstead. But Hill was arrested in 2013 for “menacing and fourth degree assault” and when his time for the draft came in 2015, he went unselected.

Signed by the Bengals, Hill failed to win a roster spot over several former first round picks and some veterans who would soon be out of the league. He did make the practice squad and eventually appear in three games for the Bengals, but was waived before the end of the season and picked up by the Patriots. Hill was only with New England for five days and it would have been interesting to see how Bill Belichick would have eventually utilized him.

If the team hadn’t given up on Hill so quickly. The Rams picked Hill up a day after the Patriots released him — and they haven’t let Hill go since. Well, not entirely let go.

Even with a 2016 arrest for suspicion of DUI that caused the team to waive Hill and temporarily place him on the practice squad, Los Angeles has treated the defensive back as an integral part of the gameplan and that’s whether or not he was playing for Jeff Fisher, Gregg Williams, Sean McVay, Wade Phillips, or Brandon Staley.

And he just had his most productive career NFL season under Staley.

Hill, who turns 30 in August, has outlasted a lot of Rams corners in the last five years: Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner, Kayvon Webster, Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and an appearance by Sam Shields.

In Phillips’ defense, Hill played in 25%, then 42%, then 49% of the snaps, respectively. Under Staley’s plan, Hill played in 95% of the snaps. The only Rams defensive player who was on the field more often was John Johnson, who played in 100% of LA’s snaps in 2020. Jalen Ramsey played in fewer snaps than Hill. Darious Williams played in almost 150 fewer snaps than Hill.

So he was not even close to being a “role player” on the league’s number one defense.

According to Pro-Football-Reference, Hill was targeted 91 times, allowing 64 receptions for 646 yards, four touchdowns, 10.1 yards per completion allowed and 7.1 yards allowed per target. Hill finished with 77 tackles, three interceptions, 10 passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery for a touchdown, and two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

The Rams face a number of key decisions with regards to the future of their secondary, including the free agency of Hill and Johnson, plus accounting for restricted free agent Darious Williams. They have locked up Ramsey, they have four notable safeties on rookie contracts, and they’re unlikely to lose Williams, but what will they do with Hill? David Long is the only other cornerback on the 53-man roster, while Donte Deayon and Tyrique McGhee spent last season on the practice squad.

Regardless of what LA chooses to do with Hill, we can safely assume that Hill plans to outlast whatever challenges might come with his next assignment.

Poll

Should the Rams prioritize keeping Troy Hill?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Yes
    (99 votes)
  • 59%
    No, they can replace him on the cheap
    (146 votes)
245 votes total Vote Now