2010 NFL Draft: Should the Cincinnati Bengals Consider Earl Thomas?

Dan ParzychSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 2: Defensive back Earl Thomas of Texas runs during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Recent reports have indicated Texas safety Earl Thomas will visit the Cincinnati Bengals April 1-2 to see what type of impact he could have on Mike Zimmer's defense for the 2010 season. Considered by many to be selected in the first round, Thomas is arguably one of the top safeties in this year's draft class, which may make the Bengals want to consider focusing on the future.

Last season, the Bengals' defense were among one of the best in the NFL when it came to stopping the run; they finished fourth overall. Zimmer seems to have his duo at safety with Roy Williams and Chris Crocker, but that doesn't mean Cincinnati should stay away from using their 21st pick to select a player like Thomas if still available.

While Crocker has three years remaining on his four-year deal, the recent one-year signing of Williams could be considered as a second test run for the Bengals.

Williams signed with Cincinnati following his release from the Dallas Cowboys after the 2008 season. After five-straight Pro Bowl seasons from 2003-07, he was arguably considered one of the top safeties in the NFL—which is why the Bengals took a risk on him last season.

Unfortunately, Williams played in just four games during the 2009 season after he was forced to be put on season-ending injured reserve after fracturing his forearm. His injury last year prevented him from living up to his full potential in the defense. He is capable of using his veteran experience to play a major role in the Bengals’ defense for the upcoming season.

However, there’s a good chance Cincinnati may decide to part ways with Williams after 2010 if things don’t work out next season. If this happens to be the case, Thomas or another safety may be a strong candidate for the Bengals in the near future.


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