First, the good news.
The Bengals have started to recover from the gut-punch in free agency that was Johnathan Joseph’s exit. Yesterday, the team reportedly agreed to terms with cornerback Nate Clements, who was recently waived by the San Francisco 49ers. He was one of the best available options to replace Joseph, so you have to give the team credit on that front. According to ESPN’s ScoutsInc., Joseph ranks as an 84 overall, Clements is a 73.
The obvious difference between the two is that Clements is older and not quite as fast as Joseph. However, Clements does have an inch on Joseph and is 10 pounds heavier, so he may hold up better against bigger receivers. Joseph was victimized on occasion by taller receivers – the Tampa Bay game comes to mind – and Clements may fare better against that same type of player.
We can all agree that Joseph probably would have been the best option moving forward (assuming he stayed healthy), but the dropoff with Clements might not be as big as you think.
Click the image to see Clements’ ESPN profile.