Newly-signed Cleveland Browns cornerback Troy Hill didn’t pull any punches in his introductory press conference, touting his new squad as Super Bowl contenders — with one condition.
While Hill sees the potential on paper, he made sure to note that means nothing without putting in the work and grinding to be great.
“I see there is no ceiling on what we can be,” Hill told reporters this week. “Obviously, on paper it is going to always be good, but you have to come in and put the work in every day. That is what I am excited about is to put the work in and then look up at the end of the season and see what we did and see how good we were. I think that we can be one of the best defenses in the league, if not the best. Like I said, we have to come in, put the work in and show out every Sunday.”
Hill — who started on the Rams top-ranked defense a year ago — will be among the bevy of new faces on the defensive side of the ball next season for the Browns.
“Troy is a versatile corner that has played inside and outside. He’s a smart football player who can play man coverage, zone coverage, turn the ball over and is a sound tackler,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said of Hill in a release. “We all viewed him as a really big part of the defensive success in Los Angeles this past year, and for us, the ability to have a corner that can play at a high level on both the outside and inside gives us a lot of flexibility with who we currently have on the roster and who we may add moving forward.”
Hill Excited to Reunite With John Johnson III
The Browns get an opportunistic playmaker in Hill, who will be playing primarily in the slot if everything goes as planned. He started all 16 games last season with the Rams, registering a career-high 77 tackles and three interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Hill also recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown, giving him an NFL-best three defensive scores.
He’ll combine forces once again with safety John Johnson III, who also signed with the Browns in free agency after four seasons with the Rams.
“It is going to be exciting to be out there and be reunited. I know what he is going to bring to the table, and he knows what I bringing to the table. It is exciting. It is going to be epic out there in Cleveland. We are looking forward to it.”
Hill Expects to Play Slot Cornerback
Hill admitted last year there was a learning curve moving into the slot, but he was up for the challenge.
“It was definitely a transition for me because of the routes and things, where I can funnel to my help and stuff like that when I am playing man or whatever. It all changed and things like that. I never really knew how successful I could be,” Hill said. “It just was I was up for the challenge type of thing. I challenged myself as a football player. I feel like right now, even though I had a good season, there is still so much room for me to grow at the position. I am still learning that position. I am still fresh at it. I am excited for what Year 2 can bring for me just to keep on going and get a little more technique in there.”
Hill joins a cornerback group that includes Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, two young defenders the Browns like. However, the health of Williams is very much a question after he missed a full season with axillary nerve damage in his shoulder. Williams is expected to be ready for the season but having another top-notch option in Hill will help tremendously.