Oct 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Cincinnati Bengals strong safety George Iloka (43) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
After being drafted out of Boise State in 2012, safety George Iloka was buried on the depth chart prior to the 2013 season. Since then, Iloka took strides on becoming the starter in Mike Zimmer’s defense with growth and knowledge of the playbook.
He accomplished that goal and became one of the reasons the Cincinnati Bengals dominated on their way to finishing the season third overall on defense in 2013.
Before starting all 16 games, there was a rotating door at the (SS) strong safety spot and Iloka kept it with poise and knowledge. Totaling 66 tackles, six passes defended, and one interception, Iloka paired well with veteran Reggie Nelson to form a consistent unit in the back-end.
For Bengals fans, be aware that the NFL Draft in May is approaching sooner than we think, so don’t be surprised if the Bengals go with a (DB) in the first or second round.
Now with that in mind, the questions will begin to loom about Iloka’s, Newman’s, and Jones’s future with the Bengals heading into the 2014 season. Getting younger is always the key for a growing defense, so someone’s job may be in jeopardy.