Could Bengals Safety Reggie Nelson Be Cincinnati's Top Free Agent Priority

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 11: Reggie Nelson #20 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs an interception upfield during the game against the Houston Texans at Paul Brown Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Texans defeated the Bengals 20-19. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Safeties. An integral part with any defense that not only supports the run, but transfers into a "last line of defense" mentality against the NFL's obvious favoritism for high-flying and exciting passing assaults. The better the safety, the better an overall defense becomes. Cincinnati's stock of safeties is weak, borderline scary. They have one proven safety and they could lose him this spring. Bengals safety Reggie Nelson is one of several unrestricted free agents this season that the Cincinnati Bengals would like to bring back next year. And depending on how strong his relationship is with (about to be Dolphins defensive coordinator) Kevin Coyle, Nelson could return to Florida as a safety for the Miami Dolphins.

According to Pro Football Focus, Nelson only missed two tackles on attempted stops against receivers (or tight ends or running backs) that caught the football, giving him a tackle efficiency of 19.0 (which means he successfully made 19 stops to one missed tackle in coverage). Additionally Nelson only allowed an opposing passer rating of 73.9 and a team-leading four interceptions in 2011 -- one of which he returned for a touchdown against Seattle.

Nelson, acquired in a trade sending David Jones to Jacksonville prior to the 2010 season, has played all 32 games during his stay in Cincinnati, including six interceptions and four forced fumbles. All 16 of his starts in 2011 were at free safety, finishing third on the team with 102 tackles.

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