With the Cincinnati Bengals in a desperate need to rebuild the safety position with only Reggie Nelson and Chris Crocker signed for the 2011 season, the Bengals had to address safety this weekend. Chinedum Ndukwe could always return, as could Tom Nelson. Even so, the Bengals need an infusion of new talent.
In the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Bengals selected West Virginia Safety Robert Sands, a player that most draft experts had projected going in the second or third round.
Defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle says that Sands is a "guy that has played a lot of different spots. Big guy who can run who has a lot of good instincts."
More reactions after the jump.
Coyle: "When you put the tape on, he's very decisive. He attacks the line of scrimmage. He's a guy who can cover ground."
Could he start? Former Bengals defensive tackle John Thornton Tweets:
Sands will start for Bengals if he learns Zimmer playbook. Not best cover man but physical like Roy Williams,6'-5", can blitz on 3rd downs
So per Thornton, whose analysis and point of view we highly respect, Sands becomes the new Roy Williams.
Along with possibly starting, Sands brings versatility. Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson tweets:
S Sands can play on all 4 sp teams and both s spots
Fox 19's Joe Danneman confirms:
Bengals like sands' versatility. Can play either safety position and even played some linebacker at wvu.
Sands started 31 games at free safety for West Virginia, recording 151 tackles. His five interceptions in 2009 were the most by a WVU defensive back in a season since Aaron Beasley set the school season-record with 10 INTs in 1994.
As a three-year starter, Sands delivered ten stops behind the line of scrimmage and produced nine turnovers (two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, six interceptions).