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2012 NFL Draft: Cincinnati Bengals Didn't Have Many Options At Safety

We get that as writers (or bloggers), it's not all going to be sunshine and iced tea, dancing through fields of eternal bliss (or Hooters waitresses) on a quest for perpetual enlightenment. There will be bumps along the way, not unlike Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, perhaps accompanied with a slice of humble-pie to counter glowing euphoria after a Bengals draft that really couldn't have gone any better. We also get that writers/bloggers that cover an entire division, with standardized commentary for all four teams requiring subjects, may offer content that sometimes might not apply.

For instance ESPN's AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley, who wrote on all four AFC North teams with the headline "One Big Question", writes:

The position in the secondary that the Bengals failed to address early in the draft was safety. After cutting starter Chris Crocker in early April, the team is putting a lot of faith in Taylor Mays, a 2010 draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers who has very little on-field experience in Mike Zimmer's defense.

Aside from the fact that a rookie would have less on-field experience in Mike Zimmer's defense than Taylor Mays, there didn't appear to be an opportune moment of availability, based on the value of their selections, dictated by their draft board.

So the Bengals selected Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still at No. 53.

Ah, hah! But they could have picked a safety in the second round. True. But Illinois' Tavon Wilson (No. 48) was the only safety drafted in the second round and it's most likely that people would argued that a safety selected at No. 53 may have been a reach. It seemed pretty clear that the team was dependant on their own draft chart for their selections. If they valued a safety in the second round, they would selected one.

After Brandon Taylor and Brandon Hardin were selected at No. 73 and No. 79 respectively, the Bengals were on the clock four picks later. Despite the fact that the Bengals had a need at wide receiver, selecting Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, no NFL team selected a safety for 51 consecutive picks after Hardin was drafted at No. 79. The Baltimore Ravens broke that streak with South Carolina State's Christian Thompson at No. 130. By that time the Bengals had selected a cornerback (No. 17), guard (No. 27), two defensive tackles (No. 53, No. 93), a wide receiver (No. 83) and a tight end (No. 116).

One safety, Samford's Corey White, was cleared from the board after the Bengals selected Iowa's Shaun Prater. Eventually the Bengals selected Boise State safety George Iloka at No. 167.

The Bengals may have been able to do things differently, but our feeling is that the team did exactly what they wanted based on their board dictated their moves. And with Iloka, the Bengals selected a safety that many experts are identifying as a steal, if not one of the top-six safety prospects heading into the NFL draft.