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Bengals shouldn't draft safety in first two rounds

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The Bengals have five safeties on their off-season roster. With two starters returning last season (Madieu Williams and Dexter Jackson), the depth-chart rounds out with John Busing, Herana-Daze Jones and Ethan Kilmer. Anthony Mitchell is an unrestricted free agent that missed all of last season.

Defense works in coordination -- like the offense (hello, Mr. Obvious). If one group fails, it makes it difficult for the other positions. For example, if you have two average cornerbacks, the safeties have to sit deep and the linebackers have to sit underneath. Average cornerbacks force the defense to play zone limiting the exposure in the secondary.

Coincidently, if you have weak safeties under a zone scheme, they will have to defend against speedy receivers one-on-one. That spells disaster. And if the run defense struggles, you'll have to cheat bringing a safety into the box exposing the pass defense.

If you have two strong cornerbacks on defense, it allows your safeties to do more. A strong safety can cheat up in the box while the free safety sits in centerfield. It allows your linebackers to blitz more freely and think run first. Two strong cornerbacks force quarterbacks to hold onto the football a split second longer increasing sack totals. Two strong cornerbacks will make play-action a little less effective.

Picking up a strong cornerback in the draft to play opposite Jonathan Joseph, could instantly improve the secondary. Tory James is in a point of his career that he should be a Nickleback -- if not retired (Marvin Lewis has reiterated that James won't be back). Deltha O'Neal is one match away from burning his Brent Spence Bridge; the Bengals are shopping him around. Keiwan Ratliff has been one of the biggest disappointments in the Marvin Lewis era drafts.

With all that said, the Bengals shouldn't go after a safety in the first two rounds. They should think cornerback and linebacker. There are plenty of unknowns at both spots. And the idea of drafting a linebacker isn't to fill a hole on the roster. Rather it's to find a guy that can be a play-maker and even a leader.

If the team unwisely goes safety, I listed four websites and their position rankings.

On the Clock Draft

  1. LaRon Landry
  2. Reggie Nelson
  3. Michael Griffin
  4. Brandon Meriweather
  5. Eric Weddle

ESPN Draft Tracker

  1. LaRon Landry
  2. Reggie Nelson
  3. Michael Griffin
  4. Brandon Meriweather
  5. Eric Weddle

Fox Sports (based on overall)

  1. LaRon Landry
  2. Reggie Nelson
  3. Brandon Meriweather
  4. Michael Griffin
  5. David Harris

NFL Draft Countdown

  1. LaRon Landry
  2. Michael Griffin
  3. Reggie Nelson
  4. Brandon Meriweather
  5. Eric Weddle