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NFL Mock Draft: Bengals select Stanford OT Andrus Peat

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Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith will enter the offseason next year as unrestricted free agents. Does it make sense for the Bengals to address a replacement during the NFL draft this year? Sure.

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Rob Rang with CBS Sports loves Andrus Peat to the Cincinnati Bengals -- and I mean REALLY loves it. In every mock draft that he's released since mid-March (and there's been several), Rang has shipped Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat to the Bengals. Why? Simply put... the contractual situation with Cincinnati's starting tackles right now.

The Bengals have two solid tackles in Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith but each is entering the final year of his contract. The notoriously frugal Bengals may be look to the future, especially if a talent like Peat falls into their lap.

This is the exact same argument that you could make with Cincinnati's situation at safety... so why not draft Landon Collins out of Alabama? He's one of the premiere safeties this year -- but in comparison to previous drafts, he's not that great (it's always relative). Is Peat that much better than paying Andre Smith? Maybe not but you can't pay everyone... right?

Setting aside the belief that Cincinnati "prefers Alabama players"... actually, hold on a second. The Bengals aren't any more preferential to Alabama players than any other school. They snagged quarterback AJ McCarron in the fifth-round last year, and then Andre Smith (2009) and Dre Kirkpatrick (2012) over the last SIX YEARS. Before that? Sam Shade in 1995, John Copeland in 1993, Emanuel King in 1985 and then Joe Dale Harris and Willie Shelby before most of you were born. If you hear someone use an Alabama/Bengals talking point, call them out on that.

Going back to offensive tackle... there is truth to Rang's argument. Based on expiring contracts after this season, the offensive line could be undergoing change. Offensive tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith are joined by guard Kevin Zeitler as potential free agents next year. Figure that the team will apply the fifth-year option on Zeitler, extend Whitworth a few more years and then let Smith walk, at least until he explores the open market, like he did in 2013.

Cincinnati put Andrus Peat through 15 minutes of drills during Stanford's Pro Day last month.

"I think Andrus Peat and [Iowa offensive tackle] Brandon Scherff are the two best offensive tackles/offensive linemen in this draft, and those are the only two I would consider in the top 10," ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay said during a conference call last month. "[Peat] is the only true left tackle, in terms of projection, that, the sense is, could possibly be taken in the top 10 and he has some developing to do. He's still young but he has all the physical ability, and I think the big thing with him is to continue to become stronger and be more of a finisher."