3. Cincinnati Bengals
Secondary Lineup: Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt, Mike Hilton, Dax Hill, Nick Scott, DJ Turner, Sidney Jones, Jalen Davis, Jordan Battle, Tycen Anderson
This time last year, the Bengals would likely have topped this list. The number of question marks at starting spots makes it difficult for them to beat out Baltimore and Cleveland. The loss of Jessie Bates was substantial but expected. What hurt was losing Vonn Bell. Nick Scott has experience but projects as a solid starter rather than a Bates-level player.
A lot will be needed from second-year guys Dax Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt. Hill played some corner last year but will need to hit the ground running at his preferred safety spot. Cam Taylor-Britt was forced into action last year and performed well, suggesting he has the potential to be an actual no.1 corner in the league. He will have to get used to teams picking on him due to his relative inexperience.
That said, if Chidobe Awuzie returns to pre-injury form, he can be a top-10 corner in the league. Inside at slot, they have arguably the NFL's best nickel in Mike Hilton. Depth will be inexperienced, but the buzz surrounding DJ Turner in training camp suggests they may have found a gem. Jordan Battle was a guy the front office was elated to get in the third round and expect to push Scott and Hill for reps.
The group is young and may take their lumps early in the season. By the end of the year, expect this athletic secondary to be trending up.