When I first read a yahoo article that had Notre Dame's Louis Nix going to the Bengals in the first round, I instantly discounted it as a lazy writer that knew nothing of the Bengals. However the more I thought of it, the more it made sense based off the past history of the Bengals draft selections. Nix's name has not been the mention of Bengals pre-draft aspirations or as the surprise pick by the Bengals nation, so I thought I would make the case and non-case for Nix wearing stripes next season.
The case that Nix should be the Bengals first selection:
With players like Gilbert, Dennard, and Ealy continuing to move up the draft boards, the Bengals are not likely to see a player that represents both a need and BPA. Nix would definitely represent one of the best players available at pick number 24. The selection of Nix would also allow the relief of money that would come from Peko's contract that could be used towards the signing of the bigger stars of the team (i.e. Green or Burfict). With the expected departure of MJ93, Nix would help to replace the run-stopping ability that MJ provided to the right side of the D-line. Nix would also likely face double-teams based off his explosiveness and overall size, making the pass rush (as well as run stopping) from the Bengals more dangerous for the upcoming season.
The Devil's Advocate:
With the focus of the Bengals 2012 draft consisting of two DTs in the first four picks, the expectation was that at least one of them would be able to properly replace Peko. That might still be the condition facing the Bengals this season as both Devon Still and Brandon Thompson are continuously developing and could become a proper compliment to All-Pro DT Geno Atkins. The selection of Nix would likely mean that the experiment of the 2012 DTs (especially Devon Still) has failed and that the Bengals could not take advantage of high round picks. The selection does not also represent a major need for the Bengals (one reasoning for the statement above) and the fact that Peko still has a year left on his contract. The other problem with this selection would be Peko's future being cemented as leaving the team after his contract expires. For as underwhelming as he may have been this season, he has been a great locker room presence that has been a leader both on and off the field for the Bengals. Another fair criticism of the pick may be that Nix may be injury-prone based off this past season or that he will never accumulate the amount of sacks that we are used to with Geno.