Dec. 16, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals free safety Kerry Rhodes (25) looks on prior to the game against the Detroit Lions at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
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:
October 8, 2011; Akron, OH , USA; Akron Zips quarterback Clayton Moore (8) runs during the first quarter as FIU Golden Panthers defensive back Jonathan Cyprien (25) prepares to make the tackle in the game at InfoCision Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports
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.