If the Bengals are going to upgrade their defensive line, Texas Longhorns defensive tackle Malcolm Brown could be someone to look at with the 21st pick. Thursday, Brown made it official that he's forgoing his final season in Austin to enter the 2015 NFL draft.
Brown, a first-team All-American and finalist for the Outland and Nagurski trophies this past season, released a statement through UT saying he was declaring for the draft. In 2014 Brown started 13 games and registered 70 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, seven QB hurries and two forced fumbles.
The 6-2, 320-pounder could play both nose tackle and defensive tackle in a 4-3 front, and the Bengals need more production from both spots. While the hope is Geno Atkins will get back to form in 2015, there wasn't much behind him to begin with, and Domata Peko simply isn't a full-time nose tackle.
Draft analyst Mike Loyko tabbed Brown to the Bengals in his most recent mock draft:
Geno Atkins wasn’t the same player in 2014 after his knee injury and his drop-off in play has been felt all season. The Bengals have struggled to rush the passer, so they could definitely opt for an edge rusher in this spot, but adding another defensive tackle that’s nearly impossible to block 1 on 1 will make Geno Atkins’ job a lot easier. When Geno Atkins returns to health it will give the Bengals a fearsome pair of defensive tackles.