Resetting The Roster: Projecting The NFL Draft For The Bengals Defense

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

We take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals roster, what we've heard in the past month and how the team may approach the NFL draft later this month.

Resetting and taking a look at the Cincinnati Bengals roster heading into the 2013 NFL draft. Now we look at defense.

DEFENSIVE END (5): Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Robert Geathers, Wallace Gilberry, Jamaal Anderson, DeQuin Evans

There is a scenario we could see playing out. If Cincinnati doesn't feel comfortable about re-signing Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap to long-term deals, there's a shot that Cincinnati could select a pass rushing specialist, projecting someone leaving after the end of this year.

I know. You hate that hearing that possibility, but you see the angle because of Cincinnati's history of re-signing their elite players.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE (4): Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson

If you follow Devon Still on twitter, you'll note that he's saturating his timeline with workouts -- some alongside teammate Geno Atkins. Still knows that with Pat Sims' departure, his time is now and we're looking forward to the youth movement at defensive tackle. Beyond that we're not projecting a draft selection here; then again we didn't expect two defensive tackles in the first three rounds last year either.

LINEBACKER (7): Vontaze Burfict, Rey Maualuga, Dontay Moch, Emmanuel Lamur, Brandon Joiner, Aaron Maybin, J.K. Schaffer

Work remains with rebuilding the team's linebacker position. Burfict will start, we're just not sure where.

We've always held reservations when hearing Marvin Lewis talk in certainties. Like Rey Maualuga staying at middle linebacker and Burfict staying at WILL. Maybe it happens. Maybe Maualuga moves to SAM and Burfict shifts inside. We're not exactly sure how the starting lineup will look; we just know that at least one linebacker will be selected early.

CORNERBACK (8): Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Jason Allen, Brandon Ghee, Shaun Prater, Chris Lewis-Harris

Hall and Newman are the projected starters. Jones will be the team's fifth defensive back in nickel formations. Kirkpatrick plans to upset the establishment, leaving a handful of cornerbacks to fill out the remaining slots on the team's roster. We're not projecting a cornerback this year, but wouldn't be surprised if the team likes a late-round defensive back to compete for the final slots.

SAFETY (5): Reggie Nelson, Taylor Mays, George Iloka, Robert Sands, Tony Dye

They're going to address safety during the 2013 NFL draft. And we're projecting something higher than the usual fifth round suspects, unlike the previous two NFL drafts when they grabbed George Iloka and Robert Sands, who was accused of assaulting his wife earlier this year. They've showed interest in Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro and Florida defensive back Matt Elam.

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