STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 12: Devon Still #71 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates after sacking Taylor Martinez #3 (not pictured) of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the game on November 12, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Despite the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals have a need for a No. 2 receiver with LSU receiver Reuben Randle still on the board (selected later by the Giants with pick No. 63), the team focused on solidifying the defense's interior with their lone second-round selection with Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still. And it was the right decision. After the team announced the selection, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said (via Joe Reedy tweet), "One of the areas we wanted to continue to shore up. Last year when Pat got injured he got nicked up."
Not only that. When Sims went down with a season-ending ankle injury in late November, the Cincinnati Bengals rush defense essentially collapsed.
In the ten games prior to his injury against the Cleveland Browns (in which Sims played 279 defensive snaps for the season), the Cincinnati Bengals rush defense allowed only 88.6 yards rushing per game and a 3.4 yard/rush average. Including the game in which he suffered his first ankle injury, the Bengals rush defense finished the season by allowing 131.5 yards rushing per game, not including Cincinnati's playoff lost to the Houston Texans. During that six-game stretch the Bengals rush defense allowed a 4.8 yard/rush average.
|With Sims||Without Sims|
|Yards Rushing Allowed||886||789|
|Avg. Yards Rushing Allowed (Game)||88.6||131.5|
|Avg. Yards Rushing Allowed (Carry)||3.4||4.8|
By drafting a player like Still, they significantly improve the defensive tackle rotation with Geno Atkins and Domata Peko while offering a true contingency if Sims is injured in 2012, or leaves the team for free agency after the season. And that's assuming that Still doesn't supplant Sims on the depth chart.
Lewis: "Really fits for us another young guy who can solidify our front. He's had stretches where he has taken the game over."
Bengals D-line coach Jay Hayes: "Still is a good pass rusher for a defensive tackle. He has athletic ability, quickness, can slip blocks."
(via reader DemonDogg)