One of the hidden gems that the Bengals grabbed in the 2012 NFL Draft was former Boise State safety, George Iloka. Projected to go somewhere around the third round, the Bengals swept him up at the end of the fifth along with fellow draft steal, Marvin Jones. Given the open starting safety position opposite Reggie Nelson, Iloka should have his chance to win the competition.
He is currently competing with Robert Sands, Jeromy Miles and Taylor Mays for the job. Sands lined up as the starter on Tuesday, but we might be seeing a change soon. According to Joe Reedy of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Iloka looked impressive in drills on Tuesday and really stood out.
Reedy said of Iloka's performance:
The impressive rookie of the day was safety George Iloka, who had a couple nice pass breakups in receiver vs. defensive back drills. Those drills are different under the new CBA because DBs are not allowed to play bump and run coverage.
Coming into the draft, Iloka was known as a solid cover man. In fact, late in 2011, BSU used him as a cornerback in certain situations. The knock that we've heard on Iloka was that he needed to be a more consistent tackler. He does have good size though, as well as solid ball skills, which is something that has been lacking at the Bengals' safety spot for some time. Hopefully he continues to impress and ramps up the competition at the position.