Bengals OTA’s: Jessie Bates reps with starters
The Cincinnati Bengals are in their second week of OTA workouts and second round pick safety Jessie Bates is getting time with the starters.
The Cincinnati Bengals began their second week of OTA workouts on Tuesday. With safety Shawn Williams still rehabbing last seasons injury, he has not been contributing much at OTA’s but instead running sprints between plays. Second-round pick safety Jessie Bates has been getting first-team reps at the safety position next to safety George Iloka.
Bleacher Report ran an article last week on which draft prospects were drafted by the wrong team, and Jessie Bates was on their list. Maurice Moton stated that the Kansas City Chiefs would have been a better place for the young safety to excel early. Considering the Chiefs just released safety Ron Parker this offseason, their deep coverage safety, it would have been likely that Bates would have a starting role in the defense right away. With Eric Berry roaming the field, it would allow Bates more time at the top of the defense.
Moton mentioned that Bates would have to climb a steep hill to get significant snaps in the Bengals defense in 2018. Given the starting safeties already in place with Williams and Iloka, it would be hard for Bates to find reps at safety. Then there is Darqueze Dennard and Josh Shaw locking down the slot cornerback positions which would provide even fewer snaps for the young rookie.
However, I believe that Bates will still see a significant amount of snaps in the. Bengals defense right away. Given that new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin wants to become more aggressive on defense, I expect more three-safety sets in the near future. The trend of three-safety sets has been increasing every season around the league as teams have proven it’s success including the Chiefs, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles all getting significant success out of the new formation.
Having Bates on the field would allow safeties Iloka and Williams to roam the field and play closer to the line of scrimmage. Whether that be in coverage or helping stop the bleed of the running attack that has killed this defense for the last few seasons. Bates has excellent instincts and sideline to sideline speed to cover the top of the defense and Cincinnati would be making a mistake not to get him immediate playing time.
Even if Bates were not to see a considerable amount of playing time in 2018, Cincinnati is still a good fit for him. With Dennard in a contract year and the Bengals already having big money tied up in cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, it’s possible that Bates takes more responsibilities left behind by Dennard in 2019.
Next: Keeping up with Bengals second week of OTA's
Getting the reps with the starters will only help Bates develop faster come regular season. These are important for the second-round pick if he would like to find himself on the field for significant snaps this season. I don’t see Bates beating out either starting safety going into the season, but there is a possibility for next season given the reps and early practice he is getting in OTA’s. Bates is a ballhawk that will go well with Austin’s new defense.