ESPN's offseason blueprint supplements the secondary

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There aren't many needs on Cincinnati's roster but there are areas Cincinnati could address in the secondary.

In ESPN's offseason blue print, that essentially breaks down most of the team's questions, including cap issues, extensions and possible draft picks, K.C. Joyner adds that two players in the secondary would be great fits in Cincinnati (ESPN In$ider).

CB Walter Thurmond: Thurmond's coverage skills (5.3 YPA), ability to play slot cornerback and aggressive on-field manner would be a great fit for a defense that prides itself on physicality.

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Rodgers-Cromartie could be of great interest to the Bengals given his 2013 regular-season performances against AFC teams that made the playoffs. In those four contests (Indianapolis in Week 7, San Diego in Week 10 and Week 15, Kansas City in Week 11), he was targeted for 18 passes and gave up only seven completions/defensive penalties for a total of 93 yards (5.2 YPA).

Todd McShay adds that if safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is available, the Bengals should grab him.

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama: The Bengals need a playmaker at safety, and if Clinton-Dix is still on the board here, that's exactly what he'd provide. He has great range and instincts in coverage and is a solid tackler.

It's a case of Cincinnati approaching a need to rebuild the secondary. Injury and age place question marks on Leon Hall, Terence Newman and Adam Jones -- if not today, then tomorrow. Fortunately, it's not a pressing need and, if the Bengals feel that their resources are required on other aspects of the team, they can ignore the secondary outright this year -- if they do, then they'll face a big need next season.

I'm encouraged by the development of George Iloka, who went from zero defensive snaps in 2012 to 1,103 last season -- for this specific context, he was a first-year player on defense. His coverage was sound with a 54.8 completion rate and 243 yards allowed, but his overall game still needs work. His run defense was a -1.2 PFF score and he missed 13 tackles last season -- not a good stat for a player that plays a last line of defense.

That said, his overall grade of +3.6 ranked No. 20 in the NFL last year, better than Bernard Pollard, Marcus Gilchrist, Louis Delmas, Kenny Vaccaro, among others. Reggie Nelson ranked No. 18.

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