[Bengals Training Camp Preview] Bengals Cornerbacks

Do you remember when we didn't have the best starting cornerback tandem in the league? So do I, but vaguely after the past three years. Here's to hoping that the Bengals get Jonathan Joseph's contract extended here soon so that they can immediately start working on Leon Hall's deal the next day. Elsewhere in cornerback-land...

Morgan Trent and David Jones have proven to be surprisingly decent and I am very excited to see what Brandon Ghee brings to the table. By the time it's all said and done, the Bengals' secondary should be one of the best in the league even on a mediocre day.

Leon Hall
Height: 5-11
Weight: 195
Age: 25
Experience: 4
College: Michigan
2009
Games Tackles Solo Ast Sacks Int FF PDEF TDs
16 71 58 13 0 6 2 24 0

Leon Hall was as automatic a choice in the first round in 2007 as Jermaine Gresham was in 2010.  Many analysts realized quickly how Hall was the perfect storm of sorts.  Known for his physical play and sure tackling as he was for his high character and dedication to the game.

Hall struggled at times covering #1 receivers in his rookie year, but has received solid coaching and is so strong technically that what he lacks in top end speed he makes up for with lightning-quick reactions and anticipation. He rarely gets burned and seems to only get better.

Jonathan Joseph
Height: 5-11
Weight: 190
Age: 26
Experience: 5
College: South Carolina

2009
Games Tackles Solo Ast Sacks Int FF PDEF TDs
16 69 58 11 0 6 1 20 1

Drafted in 2006 out of South Carolina, Jonathan Joseph was good in coverage immediately. He did however take a couple of years to get the hang of catching the ball and hauling in interceptions. His rookie year he had an astonishing number of pass breakups but he didn't reel in a single interception. He seems to have gotten quite the handle on that particular aspect of the game, especially when picking off passes from a certain indicted quarterback of a division rival. Which we LOVE to watch happen.

Contract negotiations are in progress to extend Joseph's deal, which would be advantageous for reasons stated earlier. Got to get both him and Hall locked up, for they as a unit are likely greater than the sum of their parts.

 

Adam Jones
Height: 5-10
Weight: 188
Age: 26
Experience: 4
College: West Virginia

No longer titled Pacman, Adam Jones, the former cornerback of the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys defines the phrase, "coming with baggage." Since he's joined the Bengals, few notes have been mention of Jones' after hours obsessions and most of his play during offseason practices have brought limited praise. In other words, it actually appears as if he's here to just play football.

Early in his career with the Titans, Jones was considered a gifted cornerback, who often was considered one of the better single-coverage cornerbacks in the NFL. In 2006, Jones recorded career-highs with 51 tackles, four interceptions, 12 passes defensed and his four fumbles forced ranked second to his rookie year, stripping the football five times.

However, cornerback isn't his only title. In 2006, Jones returned three punts for touchdown, including a 90-yarder against the Philadelphia Eagles; his 12.9 yard/return average lead the NFL. For his career, Jones has returned 84 punts for a 9.6 average; which could largely seal his placement on the Bengals roster in 2010.

David Jones
Height: 6-0
Weight: 197
Age: 24
Experience: 4
College: Wingate
2009
Games Tackles Solo Ast Sacks Int FF PDEF TDs
12 11 7 4 0 0 0 1 0

David Jones came to the Cincinnati Bengals by way of the New Orleans Saints after the Bengals and Saints had a joint 2007 preseason practice. He has been quite a nice surprise, although as with many nickel corners he isn't a guy you'd want to rely on as one of your starters for an extended period of time. He's likely to be playing with a chip on his shoulder to prove that he is still the team's third corner after being out for an extended period with injury last year.

Morgan Trent
Height: 6-1
Weight: 193
Age: 24
Experience: 2
College: Michigan
2009
Games Tackles Solo Ast Sacks Int FF PDEF TDs
16 28 22 6 1 0 0 4 0

Morgan Trent filled in admirably for David Jones during his absence due to injury last year as the third corner and nickel back, far better than most of us would have expected in his rookie year out of Michigan. Trent proved himself to be a capable tackler and surprisingly adequate in coverage.

Trent will make a fine fourth corner in 2010 and if David Jones' production falls off, Trent proved last year that he is more than capable of stepping in and being productive.

Brandon Ghee
Height: 6-0
Weight: 190
Age: 23
Experience: R
College: Wake Forest
2009 (Wake Forest)
Games Tackles Solo Ast Sacks Int FF PDEF TDs
12 56 35 21 0 0 0 0 0

Selected with the Bengals' compensatory pick in the third round this past April, Brandon Ghee seems like he will be a great fit for the Bengals' secondary. Drawing comparisons to our very own Jonathan Joseph with his physical makeup and style of play, Ghee could very well prove to be Cincinnati's backup plan in the event that they are unable to retain the services of both Joseph and Hall.

Ghee was also speculated to have been scouted to the position of strong safety due to his reputation as an excellent tackler.

  Johnny Sears
Height: 6-0
Weight: 190
Age: 23
Experience: R
College: Eastern Michigan

If one guy could be considered a "long-shot", it's Sears. Not that he won't have much of a shot to make the roster, but he really won't have much of a shot to make the roster. That shot, most likely, will need to include an explosive training camp and preseason, grouped with mediocre or poor performances and work ethics from Adam Jones or Morgan Trent. Even so, he's still a long-shot.

After missing 2008 because he transferred from Michigan during the 2007 season, Sears played the first nine games before missing the final three with a hamstring injury with Eastern Michigan. In those nine games, Sears recorded 37 tackles and a 22.9 kickoff return average on 33 kickoff returns.

[Josh Kirkendall contributed to this report]

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