In an appearance on Bengals Booth Podcast with Dan Hoard, former Cincinnati safety David Fulcher said the team needed Vonn Bell.
The Cincinnati Bengals‘ free-agent overhaul was desperately needed and something that fans had long been hoping for. After a quiet start, the front office secured two big-time names in defensive tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes. Many were shocked that the team would spend that much money on the open market and after those additions, along with a few other transactions, the belief was the spending spree was over.
That thought process turned out to be wrong, as Duke Tobin and company pulled another trick out of their hat to land one of the better leaders in the NFL, safety Vonn Bell. If you ask most, it appeared that the addition of the former Ohio State Buckeye was simply a luxury signing. After all, the defense already wielded two good safeties in Jessie Bates III and Shawn Williams.
If you ask former Bengals safety David Fulcher though, the signing was absolutely essential. On the Bengals Booth Podcast, Dan Hoard asked Fulcher if someone who fit Bell’s description was needed on Cincinnati’s defense,
"“Oh yeah. You need an outcast. Somebody that doesn’t look like the norm. He’s coming from a winning organization… he’s a game-changer, he makes plays… when he comes in here, he’s going to be affecting everybody. His motor is on 10 and some of our other guys’ motor can only get up to 5. Maybe he’s going to bring that level of defense up…”"
Those are some pretty strong words from one of the Bengals all-time greats. His thinking that Bell can raise the level of play around him is certainly warranted.
From a purely on-the-field perspective, the former 5-star recruit makes everybody’s job easier. For both his teammates and the defensive coaching staff, he makes matchups simpler in several regards because he extends himself beyond the typical responsibilities of a safety.
Although he plays in the secondary, he thrives in stepping up and helping in run support. Pro Football Focus has him graded out as one of the better run-stopping safeties in the entire league. This will assuredly help the young linebackers as they attempt to get acquainted with the speed of the league.
In addition, he’s a playmaker and has a knack for always being around the ball. Just last season, he led the NFL in forced fumbles.
The Bengals struggled to get off the field at times last season. With Bell now on their side, you can be assured he’ll generate some turnovers, get the defense some extra rest, and give the offense additional opportunities to put up points.
For all of the impact he makes on the field, the difference he makes in the locker room and as a leader is just as seismic.
All he’s ever known is championship-caliber football. In high school, he led his team to a state championship appearance. With the Buckeyes, he played a vital role in winning the national championship. As a Saint, he routinely found himself in the playoffs.
Now, he’ll bring that standard to him with Cincinnati. The Bengals drafted their firey offensive leader in Joe Burrow. Perhaps they found the captain for the defensive side of the ball when they signed Vonn Bell.