The Cincinnati Bengals have done a great job in drafting players in the middle rounds who are able to contribute to the team’s recent rise. Guys like Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, and Marvin Jones have all been mid-round success stories. One position where they’ve struggled to hit on is the strong safety spot. There have been a number of attempts to fill it, but thus far, the Bengals haven’t been able to satisfactorily do so. It’s still up in the air, but George Iloka might finally be the guy to do it.
Iloka was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft out of Boise State. After playing sparingly in his rookie season, he won the starting job in the 2013 offseason, and didn’t look back. He started all 16 games during the season, recording 43 tackles and an interception, while leading the defense in snaps played.
Still a young player, Iloka has plenty of room to grow. He has all the tangibles a team could want at the safety position. He’s big, fast, and can hit like a truck. He will need to improve in coverage and in the mental aspects of his game, but he could develop into the safety the Bengals have been looking for. He’s still young, and there’s nowhere to go but up.