The scouting combine is over, and now everyone is frantically updating their mock drafts to account for it. In the first edition of the Bengals.com Media Mock Draft, Geoff Hobson didn't go with any one player, but instead pointed out a number of prospects that could be in play:
Does the NFL’s No. 3 defense get richer?
At this point there are two highly-regarded defensive tackles on the board in Notre Dame’s Louis Nix and Florida State nose tackle Timmy Jernigan. The Bengals already have Devon Still and Brandon Thompson from the 2012 draft, but they got here because they were the best available, too.
At defensive end, Missouri’s Kony Ealy and Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt are names that have been matched with the Bengals in some mocks in case, apparently, Michael Johnson leaves via free agency. It may be a bit high for third cornerback to be taken, but is too high for the next tackle? That could be Virginia’s Morgan Moses. But, really, how do you know? The Bengals could have rated seven tackles in the first round or four or no
Hobson also points out that quarterback and receiver won't be in play here. It is interesting he thinks defensive tackle could be in play here. That's hard to see if Geno Atkins is able to return to form and eat-up most of the snaps alongside Domata Peko and Brandon Thompson.
Now, if Peko were to be released to shed his $4.1 million salary, DT suddenly becomes a bigger need. It is also hard to justify paying Peko that kind of money. Devon Still and Thompson make a combined $1.8 million, so neither of them are getting cut, at least until the end of training camp.
According to Pro Football Focus, Peko's -15.3 grade ranked 37th out of 40 defensive tackles who played in 50% or more of their team's snaps. I don't think Geoff was suggesting the Bengals may cut Peko, but at the same time, it's really hard to see them drafting another defensive tackle with him on the roster.