Camp Battles: Secondary Depth

Joe Robbins

The Bengals have a lot of talent and depth at the cornerback and safety positions, but the Bengals can keep only so many players in the secondary on the active roster.

While the Bengals' front seven, especially the defensive line, has been the strength of the defense, the secondary, due to injuries and free agency, has struggled at times to keep up. Leon Hall is one of the league's better cornerbacks and Reggie Nelson has made major strides at free safety, but there has been a revolving door at the other two positions, especially at strong safety.

The Bengals have some talented veterans, though, in the secondary, including Terence Newman, who played very well as the team's second starting cornerback, as well as Adam Jones, one of the league's best third corners. They also have Dre Kirkpatrick, last year's first-round pick, who will hopefully be healthy when camp starts, as well as Shawn Williams, this year's third-round pick who will compete for the starting strong safety job.

The Bengals vary when it comes to how many corners and safeties they keep on the active roster, but they usually average around 10 in the secondary with an average of six at corner and four at safety, plus or minus a player.

Here's a look at some potential camp battles in the secondary.

Locks:

  • Leon Hall
  • Adam Jones
  • Terence Newman
  • Dre Kirkpatrick
  • Reggie Nelson
  • Shawn Williams
  • Taylor Mays

Most Likely:

Brandon Ghee:

Ghee has been a victim of bad luck so far in his career with the Bengals. A third-round pick in the 2010 draft, Ghee has only played in 13 games over the last two years because he's been sidelined with injuries. If Ghee can stay healthy through the preseason, he could easily find himself as a backup corner on the active roster as well as a special teams player in 2013.

Jeromy Miles:

Miles is more of a special teams ace, but played quite a bit on defense at strong safety in 2012 as well. He was on the depth chart at strong safety behind Chris Crocker, Nate Clements and Taylor Mays and finished the season with 30 tackles. He was also on the Pro Bowl ballot as a special teams player.

Chris Lewis-Harris:

Lewis-Harris was on the active roster and was the third-string cornerback behind Terence Newman and Nate Clements in 2012. He spent the majority of the time on the team's practice squad, though he did play in three of the team's games last season, including their playoff game in Houston.

George Iloka:

Iloka was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Boise State. He was the backup free safety behind Nelson, but spent the majority of his seven games on special teams. He'll likely continue to backup Nelson at free safety.

The Rest:

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