With the 134th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select West Virginia Safety, Robert Sands. The Bengals have only two safeties signed through the 2011 season, Reggie Nelson and Chris Crocker -- and Nelson is playing the final year on his existing contract. Aside from that, the Bengals needed bodies at safety.
Strengths: Tall, wiry but strong. Has speed to reach either sideline to prevent big plays. Length affects passing lanes on the blitz and running down the seam. Plays with attitude on every snap. Likes to make the big shoulder-first hit and churn his legs to stop ballcarriers' forward progress. Covers running backs on wheel routes and can handle tight ends in man coverage. Aggressive filling to stop the run, attacks plays behind the line when playing the box. Long arms allow him to wrap up most ballcarriers when technique is good. Fair ball skills and straight-line speed to intercept jump balls and late throws over the middle.
Weaknesses: Height and aggressive style put him at a disadvantage when breaking down to tackle in space. Slides off the target because he leaves his feet or bends at the waist making tackles. Slow, high backpedal. Takes time to transition from pedal to attack. Long-striding running style does not allow him to change direction quickly; must throttle down more quickly. Overaggressive, gets moved by quarterbacks' eyes too easily. Instincts and ability to diagnose play are questionable. Makes easy picks but struggles to catch balls outside his frame.
Sands posted a 4.57 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
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