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Newest Bengal Dax Hill Arrives Ready To Work At No Matter The Station 

DB Daxon Hill and Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor at Hill's introductory press conference at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH on Friday, April 29, 2022.
DB Daxon Hill and Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor at Hill's introductory press conference at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH on Friday, April 29, 2022.

This is why the Bengals didn't trade the 31st pick in the draft Thursday night when the calls came as Michigan hybrid defensive back Daxton Hill stayed on the board:

Hill showed up at Paul Brown Stadium Friday for the first time as a Bengal unencumbered and unfazed. After the ride from the airport he popped out of the van all by himself in his work clothes.

Pullover, shorts and a smile when he said, "Dax Hill. Nice to meet you," to everyone from the cafeteria lady who served him lunch to the owner who welcomed him in the draft room.

As advertised. A lunch-bucket approach to the game and life that has made his intangibles as attractive as his versatility. He's here after playing slot cornerback this past season in Ann Arbor. He broke in as a free safety. He'll get a shot to prove he can play outside cornerback.

And Hill is ready to punch the clock and go where ever they want him

"Favorite player in the draft," said area scout Andrew Johnson, who watched every snap at Ann Arbor when Hill arrived from Tulsa three years ago. "Humble. He's a team-first guy. Loves football and he's so fast, explosive, long, smart."

They knew what they were getting even before Bengals scout Bill Tobin got a call Thursday night after the pick was made from a guy he once drafted. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh just wanted to let him know well done again.

Bengals safeties coach Robert Livingston Zoomed Hill for an hour or so a couple of weeks ago and because their schedules were so tight they had to do it on a Sunday. Both remembered it on this Friday.

"It was worth it, wasn't it?" Hill called up to Livingston on the mezzanine level as he walked through the building.

Livingston, the old William and Mary safety, joined the Bengals a decade ago as a scout and so he's lived what he calls the "morphing,' of the safety position.

"When you look around the NFL, there are so many weapons," Livingston said. "If you look at the tight end position, you have to have somebody that can cover them. The box safety is no more. The more positions you can play, the better. Defensively in the NFL, you're playing with one hand tied behind your back and you have to have guys that can adapt.

"This is a guy who can do so many things and he's smart."

The comparison is hard to get away from. It was 15 years ago when the Bengals drafted a Michigan defensive back in the first round. Cornerback Leon Hall went No. 18 and into the history book as one of the great Bengals. But Livingston can see a lot of more than that when it comes to similarities.

"I was lucky enough for Leon to be here when I moved into coaching and he ended up coaching me more than I coached him. I'll always be indebted to him," Livingston said. "If you look at Leon, he came in as an outside corner and grew into one of the best (slot) corners in the league. And he played some safety at the end. If you're going to wear the three hats, it's huge. Only 46 guys dress. And the way you have to identity who they are and where they are on offense, it's so important."

Livingston says, "Let's not put him in Canton yet," so you know he's also not going to turn him into the next Leon Hall, either.

He's just glad Dax Hill is here ready to work.

"Let's get him in the building," Livingston said, "and see what he can do."


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