After entering the 2013 NFL Draft with virtually no strong safety worth putting on the field for significant snaps, (I.E. Tayor Mays) the Cincinnati Bengals seemed destined to draft a safety in either the first or second-round. They wound up settling for Georgia safety Shawn Williams in the late third-round, which looked like an indicator they may have a veteran free agent in mind to eventually sign this offseason. Former Arizona Cardinals strong safety Kerry Rhodes visited the Bengals this month, and he would be a welcome addition to a veteran defense on the verge of becoming one of, if not the best defense in the NFL.
Bengals Beat Writer Joe Reedy made sure everyone knew that wasn’t the case:
Might want to cool off any Kerry Rhodes rumors to Bengals. Lewis indicated no plans to sign a free agent safety
— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) April 28, 2013
That settles that for now. I wouldn’t rule out bringing in another safety eventually though. Once the coaches get a good look at what they have in Shawn Williams, if they realize he may be a liability, then they could bring in someone like Kerry Rhodes or even re-sign Chris Crocker. The most surprising thing Reedy revealed was that the Bengals were at no point considering Florida international’s Jonathan Cyprien, who was widely viewed as the second-best safety prospect and a potential Bengals target:
The Bengals weren’t apparently sold on the more highly-regarded Cyprien, and settled on Williams in the third-round. The Bengals seem to have one draft pick every year that they insist will be a Day 1 starter. It’s hard to think a third-round pick could be one of them, but even though he’s a rookie, I already like Williams more than the enigma that is Taylor Mays.