Bengals: Surprising safety flying under the radar
Cincinnati’s defensive back corps is stacked with former first-round picks – literally. It’s hard to believe, but six of their top seven DBs (by snaps played) heard their names called within the first three hours of the NFL draft. Who’s the odd man out?
Meet 2012 fifth-round pick and the highest-graded overall player in the Bengals’ secondary through three weeks: safety George Iloka.
In his first year as a starter in 2013, Iloka played 1048 snaps, more than any other defender on the roster. As can be expected, his play was up and down, his lowest point coming in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions in which he yielded three receptions on four targets, including two touchdowns and also missed a tackle.
Armed with experience and another NFL offseason under his belt, Iloka is once again leading the defense in snaps played. He’s yet to allow a reception and has gotten his hands on four passes — including two picks against Atlanta — and his +2.9 coverage grade leads Bengals defenders. With a mere seven snaps within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage on run plays, he hasn’t been asked to do much in this area, but has yet to miss a tackle in the run game.
With continued play like this, Iloka will be on everyone’s radar soon.