Immediate reaction of Bengals selecting Jessie Bates

WINSTON SALEM, NC - SEPTEMBER 16: Quarterback Kent Myers
WINSTON SALEM, NC - SEPTEMBER 16: Quarterback Kent Myers /

The Cincinnati Bengals decided to draft Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates over other safeties still left in the draft surprising many fans.

The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates in the second round with the 54th overall pick. After trading back with the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bengals were able to grab their playmaker they wanted while moving up in the third round from the last pick of the night. Cincinnati has spent the offseason looking for another safety to add to their secondary.

Bringing in guys during free agency period like Eric Reid and Kurt Coleman, the Bengals wanted to find a playmaker to add to their safety group. Like Alabama Ronnie Harrison and Stanford Justin Reid, Bates is a hard-hitting safety from the top of the defense. His speed running a 4.5 40-yard dash at the NFL combine this year make it where Bates can keep up with speedy receivers.

Pro Football Focus was not very high when rating Bates as they rated him as the 11th ranked safety in this year’s draft and 115th ranked overall player. Bates is better up high and will likely be the free safety help that the Bengals need. His speed and instincts make him a great safety over the top that can cover the entire sideline to sideline field.

Bates is also extremely aggressive attacking the ball at the catch point. Hauling in 5 interceptions during his 2016 campaign and 100 total tackles was his best year at Wake Forest. In 2017, Bates grabbed only 1 interception but had 6 tackles for a loss and 6 passes defended. Bates will likely spend most of his time up high or in a robber role during three-safety sets.

He is also good at attacking the run game. With 100 tackles in 2016 and 77 in 2017, Bates totaled 9.5 tackles for a loss in his two seasons playing for Wake Forest. He also forced two fumbles during his time there. This is a playmaking safety that loves to attack the ball, something the Bengals need with only 14 forced turnovers in 2017. Bates can drop down inside the box and attack the run game which killed the Bengals defense last season.

Next: Bengals select Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates

Even though there were a couple safeties most people had ahead of Bates, fans seem excited about the Bengals finding a new playmaker for their secondary. Living just a few hours away from Cincinnati, the Bengals continue to draft players close to them as they also drafted Billy Price out of Ohio State. The film junky should bring some big plays to the Bengals defense in the future and improve a secondary that is already loaded.

Regardless of how you feel about Bates compared to the other safeties left on the board, the Bengals were able to trade down acquiring more draft picks and still get the guy they wanted all along. Cincinnati got the playmaker that they need in the secondary and still have time to draft more offensive linemen in the third round. I will write up a film review tonight but my immediate reaction is it was a good pick.