University of Tennessee's Eric Berry is a favorite among Bengals fans; most of whom agree that need a play-maker on defense and the biggest gap being with safeties. During his Pro Day, Berry suffered a "left big toe sprain" Wednesday, cutting "short his workout".
While the team's roster of safeties is relatively solid all around -- especially strong against the run -- the team could look to pick up a game-changer. Even though the Bengals only allowed one team and two quarterbacks to pass for more than 300 yards, between Chris Crocker, Chinedum Ndukwe and Tom Nelson, the team's safeties accounted for only four interceptions in 2009.
Is Berry a play-maker solution? Aside from recording 80 tackles or more in two of his three collegiate seasons, Berry has 12 career interceptions with the Tennessee Volunteers and three defensive touchdowns. Mocking the Draft ranks Berry highly, saying:
The comparisons between Berry and Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens are apt. Berry is the definition of a ballhawking safety. As a junior, he showed he has improved as a tackler. He could be the first defensive back selected.
Again, the team's collection of safeties is still very strong this year. Even with the injuries, the Bengals passing defense was solid, ranking seventh in the NFL last season, allowing 203.1 yards per game, 18 touchdowns and forcing 19 interceptions total.
Another thing to consider. With Roy Williams on a one-year contract, Tom Nelson leaving a lot to be desired and Chinedum Ndukwe approaching free agency, the Bengals will eventually need to find a long-term solution.