Bengals Training Camp: 3 questions that need to be answered

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Tyler Boyd #83 of the Cincinnati Bengals participates in a drill during training camp on July 30, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Tyler Boyd #83 of the Cincinnati Bengals participates in a drill during training camp on July 30, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Dax Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
Dax Hill, Cincinnati Bengals /

What role can the rookie DBs play?

In some regards, the Bengals’ secondary is rock solid. Veterans Vonn Bell, Mike Hilton, and Chidobe Awuzie offer solid leadership to go along with consistent above-average play on the field. In other aspects, however, there is plenty of uncertainty in Cincinnati’s defensive back room. Of course, there’s the previously mentioned safety vacancy, but the CB2 spot is worth discussing as well.

Eli Apple returns after a controversial year and all indications are that it’s his spot to lose. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said as much during his media availability this week,

"“Eli is the starter until somebody shows me they are better.”"

It’s hard to argue with Anarumo’s outlook on the matter. Despite some struggles in the Super Bowl, Apple made two massive plays that helped the Bengals reach the championship game in the first place. First, forcing an interception in the closing moments of the playoff game against the Titans, and then stopping Tyreek Hill from reaching the end zone before halftime during the AFC Championship game.

Still, it’s hard to overlook the fact that the front office has only given Apple a one-year deal in back-to-back off-seasons. That seems like a pretty good indicator that they’re looking elsewhere for a long-term answer at the position. The question becomes can second-round pick Cam Taylor-Britt be that guy early this season or if the uber-confident DB will need more time?

You can’t forget about the swiss army knife that is Dax Hill either. Even if Bates returns this season, the Bengals will have to find a way to get the talented first-round pick on the field. Will they use him as a third safety? Attempt to utilize his blitzing ability? See how he fares at cornerback if an injury occurs?

Next. 5 Bengals Who Need a Great Training Camp. dark

Time will only tell, but the coaching staff will need to get a structured plan formulated by the end of training camp to ensure their top two selections of this year’s draft don’t sit on the sideline.

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