Last season the Bengals were 15th best versus the pass in the NFL and the overall defense was 11th best in points allowed. With some key additions this offseason, there is no way both of those numbers don’t improve. Why? Because this past offseason the Bengals have added two former first round draft picks, raising their total in the secondary alone to five.
Here are the principals:
Leon Hall (first rounder 2007)
Pacman Jones (first rounder 2005)
Nate Clements (first rounder 2001)
Kelly Jennings (first rounder 2006)
Jonathan Wade (five year vet)
Brandon Ghee (third rounder 2010)
The veteran led group is loaded with talent and experience. Pacman Jones will start the season on the PUP list due to a neck injury, which is what made the addition of Kelly Jennings from Seattle this week even more important. Adding Nate Clements for WAY less than what the Niners paid him is a move for a premier corner that didn’t get the credit or ”coverage” it deserved. Pairing him with Leon Hall, who has quietly averaged nearly 5 INT’s per year in four years, gives the Bengals one of the best CB duos in the NFL.
Reggie Nelson (first rounder 2007)
Chris Crocker (eight year vet)
Gibril Wilson (Super Bowl champ)
Taylor Mays (second year)
Robert Sands (rookie)
Safety offers an interesting mix of talent. You’ve got proven talent In Reggie Nelson, Chris Crocker and Gibril Wilson. Then, in a soothing juxtaposition, you’ve got second year player Taylor Mays (acquired via trade a week ago) and rookie Robert Sands. Both Mays and Sands are large for their position, nearly linebackers, but have the speed to cover WR.
So while the defensive line may have a few questions marks, the Bengals secondary is suddenly as deep as any team in the AFC.