Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson breaks down the safeties of each AFC North team. Today: Cincinnati Bengals.
This area of the Bengals' defense really worries me. There are a lot of players in the mix, but none excites me. Cincinnati would be wise to look at one of the many good free agents likely to be available.
Reggie Nelson played much better for the Bengals after coming over in a trade from the Jaguars, and the former first-round pick does have natural ability to patrol the deep portions of the field. Nelson should remain as the starting free safety given the status of the current roster, but he was such a liability in Jacksonville that it will take time to convince me he can be counted on.
Chinedum Ndukwe and Marvin White will be free agents in some form. Ndukwe is an average starting strong safety who is decent near the line of scrimmage but can be exposed in coverage. He does blitz well, though. White didn’t play a snap last season and was added to the roster only after Tom Nelson, who also made little impact, went on injured reserve.
Roy Williams and Gibril Wilson will also be free agents. They have some similarities -- both are much better near the line of scrimmage than in coverage. Williams didn’t play poorly for the Bengals, but he remains pretty much a one-dimensional run stuffer. Wilson never saw the field after blowing out his knee during the preseason.
Cincinnati drafted Robert Sands, an extremely tall safety prospect, to add depth and special teams help. Depending on how free agency goes, Sands could see the field sooner rather than later, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com. Follow Matt Williamson on Twitter @WilliamsonNFL