Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison
With the loaded safety class this year, Harrison could fall to the Bengals in the second round but I wanted to add him in here anyway. Cincinnati showed in free agency and in their top 30 visits by bringing in Ronnie Harrison that they need more help at the position. Often overlooked because of Alabama’s other safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Harrison is a versatile safety that is also a first-round talent. Cincinnati needs more playmakers in the secondary as they only had 11 interceptions in 2017 and Harrison could help everywhere on the defense.
I mentioned the need for coverage at the linebacker position and Harrison has experience dropping down in the box. Harrison can cover big tight ends and running backs coming out of the backfield along with some slot receivers. He also has the ability to break through the offensive line and get into the backfield. This would relieve some of the pressure from the linebackers as well as allow the Bengals to run more three-safety sets in 2018 under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
During his even bigger role in 2017, Harrison hauled in74 tackles (4.5 tackles for loss), three interceptions and four pass deflections in 14 games. During his 2016 campaign, he grabbed 83 tackles, two interceptions including one pick-six, and seven pass deflections. This is the kind of playmaker that Cincinnati needs to bring the more aggressive defense to life in 2018.
While Cincinnati has two starting caliber safeties in George Iloka and Shawn Williams, both safeties took a step back after signing long-term deals with the club. They each only had one interception last season and for a defense that has holes in multiple areas, bringing in a versatile safety that can be moved around would be a great grab for the Bengals.