Why Dupree and Hilton should top off-season priority list

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28: Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to pump up the crowd in the second half during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field on October 28, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 28: Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to pump up the crowd in the second half during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field on October 28, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 15: Mike Hilton #28 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after recovering a fumble during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills in the game at Heinz Field on December 15, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 15: Mike Hilton #28 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after recovering a fumble during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills in the game at Heinz Field on December 15, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Mike Hilton is second priority 

Mike Hilton was an undrafted free agent who spent 2016 bouncing between the Jaguars and Patriots practice squads before being cut by New England in September. He then spent two months as a free agent until Pittsburgh added them to their practice squad in December of 2016.

The Steelers would look back and be grateful they added him when they did. In 2017, Hilton had a great camp and earned his spot on the Steelers 53-man roster.

He built on that great camp to go on to have a tremendous first season in the league sporting 64 combined tackles, two interceptions, six pass breakups, four sacks, and a forced fumble. He also had 10 tackles for loss which was made possible by his elite blitzing ability and run defense as a slot corner.

2018 was rough on Hilton as he was hurt early on and missed one game as a result. He may have played in 15 games but he was not the same Hilton we saw in 2017.

He was eventually benched late in the year for Cameron Sutton. This looked like it could be the beginning of his end as the starting slot corner.

Hilton played all 16 games, starting 8, and ended 2019 with 63 tackles, 11 pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. He was a mainstay in a secondary that was transformed into an excellent group over the course of the season.

Hilton is a very valuable player to this defense and secondary. He had a bounce-back season and should be a priority to retain for 2020.

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