The Bengals spent the first two days selecting instant impact players, and they started Day 3 by draft running back Mark Walton while also adding defensive tackle Andrew Brown and defensive back Davontae Harris.
Now, they have doubled down on the corner position by adding Western Michigan corner Darius Phillips.
We thought the team might add some depth to the corer position with Darqueze Dennard’s contract coming to an end, but they have gone above and beyond at this point.
How he helps the Bengals
Ball hawk: He had 12 interceptions over the last three seasons and 35 passes defended. He clearly knows how to attack the ball while it is in the air.
Returner ability: Phillips had a kickoff return for a touchdown each of his four years at Western Michigan. He ended up with five kickoff returns for a touchdown and one punt return for a touchdown. He averaged just over 26 yards a kickoff return during his senior season.
Depth in the slot: Phillips is going to be a slot corner due to his size, which is fine considering the Bengals may be letting Dennard walk in free agency. His tool set fits perfectly into what a slot corner needs. He has short area quickness and great instincts.
Why the pick makes sense
Injuries hit the position hard last season: It was almost like a revolving door last year at corner. Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones and Dennard missed games due to injury. Now with Adams gone the Bengals are really sitting on three top guys, but not much behind them. Not only does Phillips give the team the option of letting Dennard walk, but he allows them to be able to stay aggressive in the secondary if Dennard has to miss any games.
Competition after the big 3: The Bengals hoped guys like Josh shaw, KeiVarae Russell and Tony Mcrae could be the kind of depth the Bengals could rely upon, but based on the selections of Phillips and Harris the team thinks they need a serious upgrade there. Phillips could push for Dennard’s spot as well depending on how well he shows off during the preseason.
The need for turnovers: The only team the Bengals forced more turnover than was the Browns, so it is no surprise adding playmakers to the secondary has been a priority in the draft. Even Pro Football Focus believes this kid could have a huge impact.