This is a series of posts in which we're going to reset everything and determine what the Bengals options could be in the second and third rounds on Friday. With eight more draft picks before we call this draft complete, the first round will neither make or break this weekend. On Friday the Bengals will will pick 54th (overall), 84th and 96th. What positions could the Bengals address? Now, we're going to examine safety.
Here's the knock on him. He doesn't have natural instincts in coverage and he's late in diagnosing plays. Are we talking about Roy Williams or Chinedum Ndukwe? Nope. USC's Taylor Mays comes into Friday rated as the best available safety and if he's there by the team's 54th overall selection, there stands a good chance that the Bengals draft him. It's the whole USC thing. Cincinnati has to be concerned about durability with their safeties and there's going to be a big shortage when next year's offseason comes around. So addressing safety doesn't just make sense, it's somewhat of a necessity.
Realistically, someone has to draft Mays in the second round before Cincinnati picks. That's why it might be more prudent to suggest that if the Bengals draft a safety in the second round, they could draft South Florida's Nate Allen. Marvin Lewis himself checked out South Florida's Pro Day; we suspected at the time for Jason Pierre-Paul. But Allen fills a need at a position that should be addressed this weekend. Unlike Mays, scouts suggest that Allen is much quicker at diagnosing plays and ESPN writes that he "rarely gets caught out of position". Scouts say that Allen's closing speed is above average and he has good technique while backpedaling into coverage.
However, the hurdle is a big one. Only two safeties were drafted in the first round on Thursday so it stands a good chance that with Mays and Allen being the two best safeties available, the Bengals could miss out on both players unless they elect to trade up. And if both safeties are gone before the Bengals pick, don't expect them to reach for available safeties like Oregon's T.J. Ward, Georgia's Reshad Jones, Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett or Florida's Major Wright in the second round. Third round? Well, now that's a definitely possibility.