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Bengals banking on youth at safety

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Posted June 08, 2012 @ 2:40 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

It’s safe to say the Bengals identified cornerback as an area that needed to be addressed in the offseason. Half of eight corners on the roster are new faces. The club added Dre Kirkpatrick with their top first-round pick and Shaun Prater in Round Five, and signed CBs Jason Allen (ex-Houston) and Terence Newman (ex-Dallas) in free agency. The club’s relative strength in numbers at the position gives Cincinnati some security even with its best cornerback, Leon Hall, coming off an Achilles injury.

At safety, however, the Bengals have fewer options, and fewer established ones, too. FS Reggie Nelson is the only proven player at the position after the release of SS Chris Crocker. Ex-49ers S Taylor Mays is the headliner among those vying to replace Crocker, but third-year pro Jeromy Miles, second-year pro Robert Sands and rookie George Iloka are also competing for roles. The way we hear it, the Bengals like the talent and promise of Iloka, Mays, Miles and Sands, who all stand 6-foot-2 or taller. The hope, of course, is that someone emerges as a stable starter opposite of Nelson.

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