Cincinnati Bengals Position Report: Safety

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 09: Reggie Nelson #20 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts at the end of his team's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 9, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. Cincinnati won 30-20. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

We're taking a brief look at every position this weekend, breaking down the roster at this point in the offseason.

Position Report: Safety
Roster (3): Reggie Nelson, Taylor Mays, Robert Sands

Can you imagine how this roster would look without Reggie Nelson re-signing a four-year deal worth $18 million? While I personally remain suspicious of Reggie Nelson (was last year an aberration or genuine growth in Mike Zimmer's defense), there's no question that Nelson should be regarded as this team's best safety heading into the 2012 season.

Releasing Chris Crocker on Friday appears to be an indication on how the team feels about Taylor Mays' development and growth; a leading candidate to become the team's starting strong safety. Robert Sands moves up on the depth chart as well, who was selected in the sixth-round during the 2011 NFL Draft.

Draft Projection: The Bengals are thin at safety and with the release of Crocker, it now makes safety a bigger need heading into this month's draft, raising the prospect that Cincinnati could be interested with Alabama's Mark Barron. Though if he's not available, there's a good chance that Cincinnati will address the position during Friday's second and third rounds.

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