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Bengals 2016 Free Agent Profile: Safety George Iloka

The Bengals have key players with expiring contracts. Who should be retained and who should they part ways with? Let's take a look at each of their own 2016 free agents and what they have to offer.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

George Iloka was a fifth round pick for the Bengals in 2012 after being another #DraftTwitter favorite. Iloka didn't start on the defense until 2013, but quickly became an impact player for the Bengals. In 2015, Iloka battled a few injuries which brought down his production, but he played in 12 games, had 35 solo tackles, 12 assisted tackles, 4 passes defensed, and 1 interception. Over the course of his four year career with the Bengals, he's had 189 total tackles, 20 passes defensed, 5 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles.

What he does well: Iloka has a rare blend of size, athleticism and coverage ability. When you see him listed at 6'4" and 225 lbs, you might assume he's a strong safety, but Bengals fans would know Iloka has played more free safety than anything. He patrols that deep safety spot and the defense rarely gets beat over his head. His speed, length and range allow him to be a unique player in the NFL. The Bengals pride themselves in rotating their safety's responsibilities and Iloka can also play inside the box and uses his size to help him in the run game as well. The Bengals often used Iloka to match up against dangerous tight ends because of his blend of size and athleticism. That alone makes Iloka valuable to every NFL team. You just don't find too many DBs with his blend of abilities.

Concerns: Iloka doesn't have many holes in his game and most of these concerns will be nitpicking. He was hurt early in 2015 and it affected his play throughout the year and he never looked 100%. In previous years, Iloka would have flashes of stiffness in man coverage or when tackling in open space, but this was mostly due to his long legs not allowing him to move as fluidly as a smaller DB. When Iloka first started, the Bengals had to get him to be more aggressive toward the run, but that hasn't been a problem in a long time.

Outlook: Overall, I feel like Iloka offers so much to the Bengals' defense. Not only is he an athlete with size, but he's an impact player and he's had stretches where he has been the team's best defensive back. That's saying something as he's also one of the only non-first-round picks playing in their secondary. Iloka is smart, young (25) and talented. He should be the Bengals highest priority this offseason. If he makes it into free agency, I expect him to receive plenty of attention and get paid well. Cincinnati should look to extend Iloka before free agency starts as I could see him pulling in around $6-7 million per year over four years.

Here is the list of NFL safeties set to hit free agency in March:

Husain AbdullahKansas City Chiefs
Isa Abdul-QuddusDetroit Lions
Antonio Allen, New York Jets
Will AllenPittsburgh Steelers
Colt AndersonIndianapolis Colts
Mark Barron, Los Angeles Rams
Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
Robert BlantonMinnesota Vikings
Omar BoldenDenver Broncos
Tyvon Branch, Kansas City Chiefs
David Bruton, Denver Broncos
Rafael BushNew Orleans Saints
Chris ConteTampa Bay Buccaneers
Craig DahlNew York Giants
Louis DelmasMiami Dolphins
Quintin DempsHouston Texans
Charles Godfrey, Atlanta Falcons
Robert Golden, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tashaun GipsonCleveland Browns
Roman Harper, Carolina Panthers
James Ihedigbo, Detroit Lions
Jaiquawn Jarrett, New York Jets
Rashad JohnsonArizona Cardinals
Don Jones, Cleveland Browns
Shiloh Keo, Denver Broncos
Dwight Lowery, Indianapolis Colts
Sherrod MartinChicago Bears
Taylor MaysOakland Raiders
Danny McCrayDallas Cowboys
Brandon Meriweather, New York Giants
Ryan Mundy, Chicago Bears
Reggie Nelson, Cincinnati Bengals
Chris Prosinski, Chicago Bears
Sean RichardsonGreen Bay Packers
Brandian RossSan Diego Chargers
Jamarca Sanford, New Orleans Saints
Andrew Sendejo, Minnesota Vikings
Keith Tandy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Walter Thurmond, Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers
Tavon WilsonNew England Patriots