With the 54th pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bengals selected Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates.
Coming into the draft, Bates was regarded as one of the best play-making safeties in this class, and the Bengals needed to find a way to upgrade a secondary that didn’t force enough turnovers in 2017.
That’s why they opted to spend a top 55 pick on someone they obviously believe can play a major role in their defense as early as a his rookie season.
However, it will be interesting to see how the Bengals incorporate Bates with Shawn Williams and George Iloka having both safety spots locked down. That brings into question how soon the Bengals will be able to get their second-round pick onto the field.
But while they form a solid duo, when one of them is injured, it’s a big step back to Josh Shaw, and Clayton Fejedelem is still a bit of an unknown.
And frankly, Iloka and Williams aren’t so good that the Bengals should pass on a great safety prospect. I’m not saying Bates is one, but perhaps they think he is.
If you need a reason to be high on Bates, draft expect Matt Miller compared him to former Bengals safety Reggie Nelson. That's exactly what this defense has been missing since he left in 2016. Hopefully, Bates bring that to the table.
All told, was this a smart move by the Bengals? How do you grade the pick?
How do you grade the Bengals’ Round 2 draft selection?
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