We saw what Seattle did to Denver, they destroyed one of the best offenses of all time, holding them to 1 TD drive and 8 total points. We’ve heard it’s a passing league, offense, offense, offense for the past few years and now maybe we’ll start hearing the old "defense wins championships" saying again. It is a copy cat league, teams converted to the 3-4, the wildcat, 2 TE sets, so now what are teams going to copy from Seattle? Seattle has a good pass rush, but it is known for it’s secondary. Big CBs are part of that, but I think more than anything, their Safeties make the difference. Safeties are relatively cheap compared to CB and pass rushers, so I think this off season, we will see demand for Free Agent Safeties, and a run on them in the Draft. Emphasis on improving the Safety position is not new, they have been in high demand for some time, partially I think because it is hard to find a true impact player.
And as the league goes pass heavy, with 3, 4, and 5 WR sets, pass catching RBs, and 2 TE sets where the TE is just another big WR, you need more guys in the backfield that can cover. I think Marvin has been looking for his Ray Lewis and Ed Reed since he came here, and he’s finally got Burfict, but Iloka and Nelson are no Ed Reed. Every year in the Draft we have several Safeties rated high and we watch as the Bengals go with another value position while other teams seem to gobble up all the top safeties on the board.
As a matter of fact, in 2010, we were looking at Earl Thomas as a possible 1st round selection for the Bengals, but he was taken by Seattle at 14, and the Bengals went with Jermaine Gresham at 21. And then Taylor Mays was drafted 49th overall to the 49ers, just ahead of the Bengals who took Carlos Dunlap at 54. I remember that draft because I started scanning the draft publications at that point trying to figure out who we could get, Nate Allen and T.J Ward were off the board also, I wanted Morgan Burnett but the Packers took him at 71, then Major Wright and Chad Jones were gone. Bengals took Shipley and Ghee, and then the Bengals grabbed Geno Atkins in the 4th. There were several other safeties taken but really only one left that sounded like a poor mans Taylor Mays that the Bengals needed, Kam Chancellor, and he was still on the board with the Bengals seemingly having filled all of their other needs. I got excited as I watched the Bengals on the clock, but they took Roddrick Muckelroy with the final 4th round selection and Seattle got Chancellor in the 5th. We eventually did get Taylor Mays, but he wasn’t the Safety we had all hoped he would be. 2013 was really the next big Draft where there was a lot of talk of the Bengals getting a Safety. Vaccarro, Reid, Elam, and Cyprien, Vaccarro and Reid were gone, and we thought maybe they would go with Cyprien, but we all watched as oddly enough, the Bengals decided to go TE again and take Eifert.
So my point of walking though drafts past was to show that the Bengals under value, or maybe other teams over value Safeties in the draft. It’s been a hard position to fill, with later round picks not working out, and very few quality free agents available. So now that Seattle dominated the Super Bowl with their 2 Safeties, did it get the Bengals attention? You can bet it got a lot of other teams attention, and this is why I think there is going to be a ton of talk about Safeties in the first 2 rounds of the 2014 Draft. It will be interesting to see if the Bengals are comfortable enough with the progress Iloka has made, and last years 3rd rounder Williams that they stay away from the Safety position and take other value players that have dropped.