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Wallace Gilberry: Just One Member of the Bengals Version of the Expendables

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When the Bengals brought in Gilberry earlier this season for a tryout after Jamaal Anderson went down with a season-ending knee injury, Marvin LEwis was immediately impressed with his heart, hustle, and desire:

High energy, played hard, had an opportunity to be a good rusher. He had good pad level and good extension and could play in the running game. He’s a good athlete. That’s what he’s proven to be. He’s been good. What you don’t know is, you don’t know the guy. When we had those guys in to work out – I think there were four guys in that day – I remember saying those were the four best-looking guys off the street that I may have ever seen. They were all 6 (foot)-4-plus and all could run and move. It was an impressive group. But his tape of what he had done in the preseason and in previous year was why we chose him over the other guys. He’s proven to take every advantage of the opportunity, and it’s been great.

 

Just look at the starters on the Bengals defense: Chris Crocker is starting at safety after being signed off the street for a second time by the Bengals, and has given them a reliable presence they can depend on to keep the back-end of their defense protected from big plays.  Vontaze Burfict is starting at weakside linebacker after going undrafted out of Arizona State.

Gethers, Peko, and Atkins were all drafted in the fourth-round of the NFL Draft, yet have started the majority of games together for the Bengals over the past two seasons in which the Bengals have ranked in the top-10 of NFL defenses. Johnson wasn’t exactly highly regarded either, going in the third-round, while Dunlap was taken in the second-round.

That’s not even counting the numerous defensive players on the final years of their contracts:

PLAYER

POS

STATUS

Manny Lawson

LB

UFA

Nate Clements

CB

UFA

Chris Crocker

S

UFA

Robert Geathers

DE

UFA

Wallace Gilberry

DT

UFA

Michael Johnson

DE

UFA

Adam-Pacman Jones

CB

UFA

Rey Maualuga

LB

UFA

Jeromy Miles

CB

RFA

Terence Newman

CB

UFA

Vincent Rey

LB

RFA

Pat Sims

DT

UFA

Dan Skuta

LB

UFA

That’s six starters and another six players on the 2-deep of the depth chart. But the Bengals have managed to make it work using expendable players and replacing them with less-regarded players who play for cheap one or two-year deals. Hopefully they can continue to replicate this success.

 

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