As NFL Draft Looms, Michigan DL Christopher Hinton Aiming To Follow In Dad’s Footsteps

Former Michigan defensive lineman Christopher Hinton is hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps and make it to the NFL.

His dad, Chris Hinton, played 13 years in the NFL as an offensive tackle and earned seven Pro Bowl nods. He played for the Baltimore Colts as a rookie in 1983, then went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts (1984-1989), Atlanta Falcons (1990-1993) and Minnesota Vikings (1994-1995). Hinton’s mom, Mya, is a former Northwestern women’s basketball standout.

Having two parents who have played sports in college and one who played in the NFL has allowed Christopher Hinton to have an up-close look of what it takes to be a college and professional athlete. His parents taught him and his brother, Myles, a rising junior offensive lineman at Stanford, what it takes to be a successful athlete.

“One of the things I learned the most is hard work will give you a shot at what you want to do,” Hinton said on Glenn Clark Radio March 18. “You have to put the work in every day and also you can’t be complacent because the second you’re complacent, you’ve got someone else in a different gym, on a different field working harder than you at their goals and then it’s just competition. The two things are hard work and never be complacent. Those are the two things that I keep with me every day whether it’s with football, whether it’s with school, or whether it’s with anything I want to accomplish outside of sports.”

Despite both of his parents being former college athletes and his dad making it to the NFL, Hinton has never felt pressure to “live up to them.” His dad was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1983 and traded to the Baltimore Colts for quarterback John Elway not long after. Hinton learned more about his dad on ESPN’s “Elway to Marino” 30 for 30 documentary.

“Both my parents did a great job of never putting their success and their accomplishments on me at all,” Hinton said. “When 30 for 30 did that thing on my dad, I was about in sixth grade or seventh grade or so, and until then, I never understood how good he was, so that pays dividends to him and his humbleness and not putting his goals and his success onto my brother or myself.”

Hinton also pointed out that his father did a great job of never pressuring him or even encouraging him to play football. He wanted his son to do what he wanted to do.

“He’s also had talks with me before high school [when he said], ‘This football thing it gets serious and it’s very time consuming. I’m never going to force you to play football, never going to force you do to anything,'” Hinton said. “I’m very appreciative of both of them for always being there for me whenever I need it”

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound junior defensive lineman played in 14 games for Michigan in 2021 and recorded 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and two fumble recoveries. Hinton shared the defensive line with potential No. 1 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, who was projected to be a first-round pick before he suffered a torn Achilles during Michigan’s pro day.

Michigan won its first outright Big Ten championship since 2003 and made its first-ever College Football Playoff appearance in 2021. The defensive coordinator for that team was Mike Macdonald, who has decided to return to the Baltimore Ravens in the same position. He spent 2014-2020 with the Ravens as a coaching intern, defensive assistant, defensive backs coach and linebackers coach.

If Hinton gets drafted by the Ravens, he won’t be disappointed to play for Macdonald once again.

“When Coach came to the University of Michigan, we kind of could tell right away it was going to be a different vibe, a different season,” Hinton said. “He’s a great leader but he also let us lead the team. He let the leaders of the defense have our own vision of the defense and kind of what we wanted to do this year.

“Everyone really responded well to him — a young dude, could really relate to us and he always put super great people around us as well on his staff. The energy he brought, the control that he let us have over the defense along with him just being a great leader, that paid dividends to our success this year.”

According to NFL Mock Draft Database, Hinton projects to be a fifth-round pick, so the Ravens could take a small risk for a potentially high reward. They would get a physical and versatile defensive lineman, according to Hinton.

“Teams are going to get a kid that’s super physical at the point of attack, he’s going to stop the run, he’s going to be physical,” Hinton said. “He’s also going to cause disruption in the run and the pass because I’m quick enough to get past guards. I’m also very versatile, I can play anywhere amongst the inside of the defensive line, even if they need me at [the 5 technique]. … I feel like I can play anything amongst the defensive line. They’re getting a versatile, smart, physical player.”

For more from Hinton, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credits: U-M Photography, Courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts