Discussing how he put together what he believed was the best season of his NFL career thus far, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey said in January that it was partially a credit to fellow cornerback Troy Hill, who played both inside at star – the hybrid nickel defensive back position in former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley scheme – and outside at cornerback.
Head coach Sean McVay echoed similar sentiments in his end-of-season news conference, saying last month their ability to activate Ramsey in multiple positions across the secondary was due to Hill's versatility.
Hill also influenced Los Angeles' defense in direct ways, accounting for three of its four defensive scores with two pick-sixes and a fumble return for a touchdown in the regular season.
After providing all of that, Hill is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins March 17.
So what are the options for the Rams and Hill?
That partly depends on new defensive coordinator Raheem Morris' vision for the defense, in particular what he wants out of the Rams' cornerbacks in scheme, and whether Hill – in both Morris and McVay's eyes, as McVay will likely also have a say in personnel decisions – fits the mold they're looking for. Morris' prototypical cornerback may be different from Staley's.
If the Rams re-sign Hill, it would give them depth and experience at a position that is increasingly becoming one of the premium ones in the game. Having both at that spot int he secondary is valuable, especially when facing quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray each twice a year during the regular season. Hill has also been durable and available over the last five seasons, playing in 70 out of 80 regular season games during that span.
If the Rams don't re-sign Hill, they could look internally at 2019 third-round pick David Long Jr, who played both inside and outside as a rookie and has two seasons of experience, or potentially versatile 2020 third-round pick Terrell Burgess, who played every position in Utah's secondary in college, as potential replacements. They could also look for a replacement through the draft this year.
Take a look back at the top shots of the Rams cornerbacks from the 2020 season.