The Bengals’ defensive line could use another ‘big’ upgrade this offseason.
After letting Domata Peko go last year, the Bengals hoped to get stronger in the middle with Andrew Billings finally healthy following his knee injury. However, Billings didn’t prove to be any better than Peko in his first year as a starter, and nether Pat Sims nor Ryan Glasgow were much better.
Does that mean the Bengals will upgrade that second defensive tackle spot with a high pick in the NFL Draft?
It appears they’ll at least consider it in the form of Vita Vea, who is easily the best defensive tackle in this draft. Cincinnati will be among a host of NFL teams meeting with Vea during the pre-draft process, according to NFL reporter Aaron Wilson.
Washington DT Vita Vea, one of the top players in the draft, visits Cowboys, Buccaneers, Washington, Chargers, Giants, Bengals, Broncos, Browns, according to a league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 26, 2018
In 2017, Vea finished with 43 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He was a disruptive force on the defensive line and was voted the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.
Standing at 6’4” and 347 pounds, Vea is a mammoth of a man that manages to carry his weight very well while dominating his gap. He would also help keep opposing offensive lines from being able to double-team Atkins.
Vea is a lock to be drafted in Round 1 this year barring any unforeseen medial or off-field issues. Most mock drafts have him going off the board before the Bengals go on the clock at No. 21. All three NFL.com mock drafts have Vea going No. 11 to the Dolphins.
Taking Vea would also makes this a second-straight year in which the Bengals spent a first-round pick on a Washington Huskies star. However, Vea would probably make a major impact as a rookie along the defensive line and not spend a year on the bench in comparison to John Ross.