We're taking a moment to examine each position on the Cincinnati Bengals roster and forecasting possible outcomes for free agency and the 2013 NFL Draft.
Signed In 2013: Reggie Nelson, Taylor Mays, George Iloka, Tony Dye, Robert Sands
Free Agent: Chris Crocker, Jeromy Miles
Reggie Nelson. Everyone else. A more reasoned conclusion perhaps highlights the late arrival of Chris Crocker, joined with Nelson, both of whom led the team with three interceptions apiece. Yet Crocker turns 33 in March and the Bengals really aren't closer to finding a long term solution at strong safety. Taylor Mays? Maybe one day but it wasn't last year. After starting the season against the Ravens, allowing a 34-yard touchdown pass, the Bengals ditched the Mays solution, starting Jeromy Miles against the Cleveland Browns in week two -- Mays didn't even play a single defensive snap. Eventually the Bengals placed Nate Clements at safety before settling with Chris Crocker, who stabilized the position with more consistent production than what was being generated by his predecessors.
Long-term solution. Maybe it's a mythical thing for a position that's fading from specialty and save for Reggie Nelson re-signing, the Bengals clearly haven't taken the safety position with much seriousness. During the Marvin Lewis regime, the Bengals have drafted one safety in the second (Madieu Williams), one in the fourth (Marvin White) and four more afterwards. Kim Herring, Ifeanyi Ohalete, Dexter Jackson, Roy Williams and Crocker highlight the team's free agency accomplishments. Say what you will but when you sign and place Ohalete in your starting lineup, you're just not taking things very seriously.
FREE AGENCY: That being said safety is one of the team's top needs. Though Cincinnati isn't expected to become heavy spenders in free agency, players that they could sign to improve the position includes Jairus Byrd, George Wilson, Kenny Philips, Williams More, Dashon Goldson and even Ronde Barber (not thinking "long-term" solution at this point). Crocker is candidate to return for another one-year deal.
NFL DRAFT: The NFL draft might be where the Bengals spent one of their three picks during the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL draft like Jonathan Cyprien, D.J. Swearinger or Bacarri Rambo, which is assuming Kenny Vaccaro will be taken before Cincinnati's first selection.