May 10, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals third round draft pick safety Shawn Williams (40) listens to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, right, during the Bengals rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Williams has looked like the better of the two thus far, and even if Mays plays slightly better during the preseason, he’s likely reached his ceiling, while Williams still has plenty of room to grow. Second-year man George Iloka is a dark-horse candidate to win the job, and has gotten reps with the first-team at times during the first five practices.
Ironically, if Williams wins the starting job, Iloka and Mays could very well be fighting each other for a roster spot, as it will be tough to justify keeping five safeties, with Reggie Nelson being a lock, and Jeromy Miles being such a strong contributor on special teams that we don’t see his roster spot being in jeopardy.
Early projection: Shawn Williams named starter. George Iloka backs him up. Taylor Mays is cut.