"@TheOneTrueDoo: NT prospect that fits the Bengals best in your opinion?"
Currently, the Bengals have Domata Peko under contract and I'd bet he'll be their starting NT in 2015. Having said that, they need to add a true NT to this rotation who could take over for Peko by 2016. With the money tied up on the defensive line and with Peko, this addition will almost assuredly come through the NFL Draft in the form of cheap talent.
Before looking at draft prospects, what do the Bengals ask of their Nose Tackles? They usually line them up at the 1 or 2 spots. Which means between the C and G (1) or over the Guard (2). Once in a while they play over the Center (0). The NT, for the Bengals, is a run defending player who is asked to eat double teams and allow the other players to make the tackles. If Peko is in on a pass play, he almost always hangs back and spies the QB to keep him from running. I believe this is mostly by design and because Domata Peko isn't a good pass rusher.
Now, looking at prospects, who could not only fill this role, but possibly expand the position beyond what it currently is? These four players will probably taken before pick 50, so the Bengals would want to get their guy with pick 21.
- Carl Davis (Iowa) is currently my favorite option. He is tall at 6'5" with bulk at 321 lbs and with the quickness and power to be disruptive in both phases of the game. I think he'd be outstanding as a Shade-NT, lining up in the 1 and 2 techniques and 'shading' toward the C.
- Danny Shelton (Washington) is a mountain of a man with amazing natural power, but he offers little as a pass rusher and has some technique issues that could get him in trouble in the NFL. I think he's a run defending NT in a 3-4 defense.
- Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma) is a huge player at 6'6", 330 lbs who plays very strong and stout and plays like a NT should.
- Malcolm Brown (Texas) is a former 3-T type, but grew into an NT body and role. He offers more pass rush than other NT prospects but needs more experience as a run-plugging NT type.
"@mhfight: interested in your thoughts on Dupree or Beasley at 21 - looks like both may be available"
Both should be there when the Bengals pick and I wouldn't be surprised if both, if not one, ended up being selected at the top of round two. Both currently have a fringe-first round grade from me. They're both very similar types of players. Both are OLBs or stand-up EDGE types. They won't be full time Defensive Ends in the NFL. Both rely on the speed rush and it's what makes them attractive prospects. I'd be OK with either one because of their speed rush ability, but wouldn't love either pick due to some uncertainty with transitioning to the NFL.
Vic Beasley (Clemson) is the more explosive of the two but is much smaller at 235 lbs. Beasley has a crazy first step and instantly threatens the edge. I can't compare him to anybody the Bengals have ever had. If you watch the Super Bowl this weekend, keep an eye on Bruce Irvin of the Seahawks. That could be Beasley's role for the Bengals - Pass Rushing Nickel RDE. This is where Beasley will impact the game early in his career.
Dupree is similar in the sense that he relies on the speed rush, but it's not the same type of threat. His advantage is that he easily weighs more than 250 lbs. Dupree is more of a LB than true pass rusher and played the 3-3-5 EDGE spot for Kentucky. He has experience in coverage but needs help with pass rushing moves. He's probably an SAM LB for the Bengals with the ability to play DE in Nickel. I like the role more than I actually like Dupree.
"@bill_nottingham: Better for the Bengals to get an edge specialist and a 1.5 down run-plugger, or two 3-down D-Linemen?"
It's always better to get a 3-Down player because it offers versatility and allows you to rotate defensive lineman freely without worry. The problem is, those types are usually drafted early. If they could find a pass rusher at RDE to replace Geathers, that'd be the biggest upgrade they could find.
"@MikeZebosky: hey Joe what do think is our glaring need this offseason? Thanks"
Right Defensive End. That spot is currently occupied by Wallace Gilberry in base defense and Robert Geathers in Nickel. Adding a pass rusher would go a long way to help the rest of the defensive line, but somebody who can play three downs would allow Gilberry to play fresher when he's in.
"@MWWhalen: thoughts on Bengals being active in trading up in some rounds with the compensatory picks?"
For those who don't know, compensatory picks cannot be traded, but having the extra picks allows the Bengals to be flexible with their other picks. I'm always for moving around and grabbing a player who's dropping, but it's rarely worth it. The Bengals have depth issues on the DL, LB, WR and OL. With a huge group of free agents upcoming in 2016, they could use every pick this year to replenish the team.
"@drausch23: ante up for Suh?"
If Ndamakong Suh becomes available, I'm all for signing an elite talent at a very important position. He will cost a ton, but he's so good, he would instantly make everyone on the defensive line better. You wouldn't need to sign an RDE in free agency. You could cut Geathers, Peko and let Maualuga walk and save about $9M to put towards Suh's probable $12-15M salary. My biggest concern is lacking a true NT type, but the Lions didn't have one either.
Suh gets doubled most of the time no matter where he lines up. This would be similar to when Buffalo signed Mario Williams ($19.4m) and added him to Kyle Williams ($5.85M) and Marcell Dareus ($8M). It was overkill at the time and now they're accounting for over $33M against the cap; but it became the key to their defensive success. The Bengals will be spending $15.9M on their 3 biggest DL contracts (cutting Peko) in 2015. If they wanted to add a salary over $10M a year, they could easily afford it.
Having said all of that, I do not expect the Bengals to sign Suh, because they just don't do things like that. It's just fun to entertain the idea though.
"@engelj06: what to do about the QB situation? Draft, FA, or stay with status quo?"
The never ending question is more clear today than it has been the last two years. And the answer... The Bengals should do nothing with the quarterback position in 2015. I demanded the Bengals draft a QB last year because of the class and opportunities available, but that's not the case this year. Now, they have to ride it out. After Mariota and Winston, this QB class takes a nose dive. The next-best prospect isn't much better than AJ McCarron, and I would be shocked if McCarron had any sustained success in the NFL.
As for free agency, it's the same as every year, a group of nothing-to-see-here quarterbacks. Maybe you sign somebody who isn't OK with sitting as the backup and who could possibly challenge Andy Dalton. Guys like Mark Sanchez and Jake Locker could take on that role.
The Bengals will stay with Dalton in 2015 because Marvin's job is on the line. He gives them their best chance to win. Our best hope is that one of the top two QBs gets in trouble between now and draft day and takes a tumble into the Bengals' lap. Just don't expect the Bengals to draft a QB; changing roles at that position isn't a priority for the team right now.