First off, there was some great news at safety during the off-season when the Bengals finally were able to get a deal done to bring back starter, Reggie Nelson. Nelson had a huge season last year and was one of the most coveted free agent safeties this off-season. The Bengals made a great move by bringing him back to Cincinnati. On the other side, there is a huge question mark at the position. There are many young, unproven players jockeying for the position during camps this year. The players involved in this position battle are Taylor Mays and Robert Sands. Also in the mix possibly could be 5th round draft pick from 2012, George Iloka from Boise St. All of these Bengals are developmental players, and the one that shows the most improvement during training camp and the preseason will get the starting gig. The state of the Bengals safeties is at about a 50% security factor. Nelson will provide much needed stability in the secondary, while it will be quite the opposite at safety on the other side of the field. Bengals fans are hoping that one of these young players can truly step up and compliment Nelson during their 2012 campaign.
Overall, the state of the Bengals defense could be better, but also could be a lot worse. They lost some key players due to trades, free agency, and suspensions, but for the most part did a great job in free agency and the draft to fill the holes that were left by the departing players. The key to a solid 2012 season for the Bengals defense revolves around the time it will take for the players that haven’t been proven yet can come in and contribute alongside the solid veterans that hold most of the roster spots on the defensive side of the ball.