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Bengals Bytes (2/2): No stars

George Iloka shares where he ranked on National Signing Day. From Bengals practice squad to Super Bowl 51. Hue Jackson shares what he is looking for in a young quarterback. Pat McAfee surprisingly retires, but he already has a new job lined up.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Green: Top 10 Plays of 2016

WR A.J. Green proved once again in 2016 that he is one of the top wide receivers in the game.

National Signing Day: Bengals Ratings

George Iloka shared with Bengals.com back in 2015 that the art of rating High School athletes isn’t an exact science. Even though he ended up being listed as a two-star recruit, Iloka shared that he did not have any stars next to his name until he decided to sign with Boise State: “There are some good scouts in there, but when you’re in high school they base it off stats, height, weight your 40 (yard dash). I actually had no stars.”

No divas allowed

Charles Tillman, the cornerback turned Fox analyst for Sunday’s Super Bowl (6:30 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12), took the cap of a water bottle this week when he was asked to name the best receiver between those 2011 NFL Draft soulmates. The Bengals’ A.J. Green, the 6-4, 210-pound fourth pick from Georgia, or the FalconsJulio Jones, the 6-4, 220-pound sixth pick from Alabama, two southerners who have been connected at the hip since they played in a high school All-American game.

Bengals' AJ McCarron Valuable Piece Of The Puzzle

The Cincinnati Bengals made their last run for the Super Bowl with odds stacked against them. When they played the infamous January 9 Wild Card Game at Paul Brown Stadium, Andy Dalton was looking on from the sidelines. AJ McCarron had been pressed into action after Dalton failed in his impression of a linebacker. McCarron began his tour of duty in Week 14 of the 2015 campaign. Bengals fans found out how important he was, during the last three weeks of the season. He was the puzzle piece that made the difference.

Matt Lengel vaults from Bengals PS to Super Bowl

Anybody looking for proof the NFL is an unpredictable whirlwind for players, only needs to spend a few minutes talking to Matt Lengel. Only a few months ago, Lengel languished on the Bengals practice squad, a 26-year-old tight end serving as a placeholder running scout team plays wondering if he’d ever wear an NFL jersey on game day.

AFC North Bytes

NBC's Josh Norris talks Ravens' draft strategy

CSN anchor Brent Harris talks with NBC's Josh Norris to discuss the Ravens' pending draft strategy. With Zach Orr retiring, it will be a big decision.

Assessing where the 2017 Steelers draft needs lie heading into February

Who should the Steelers consider in the 2017 NFL draft? That’s what the Big Board is for. This article addresses a few of the patterns we can see in the distribution of talent. First, this particular draft class has a monstrous cluster of Edge Rushers with late-1st to early-2nd grades.

Hue Jackson outlines the traits Browns want from young QBs

The way Hue Jackson and the Browns will evaluate the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class hasn’t changed. But the context of how they’ll approach such a dynamic is different than it was a year ago.

Random Bytes

Cooper Kupp is who he is... but that's okay

Can huge production in college translate to the NFL? Four hundred and twenty-eight catches. Six THOUSAND and sixty-four yards. Seventy-three touchdowns... Those are absolute video game numbers for a four year career and they belong to Eastern Washington's Cooper Kupp.

Josh Brown begins an attempt to rehabilitate his image

The Giants cut kicker Josh Brown during the 2016 season after the bad public relations stemming from his history of domestic violence became too much for the team to ignore. Now Brown, surely hoping some NFL team gives him a second chance, is attempting some public relations rehab.

Pat McAfee of Indianapolis Colts announces retirement at age 29

Colts punter Pat McAfee has announced his retirement from the NFL at the age of 29. McAfee, who has done stand-up comedy in Indiana the past couple of offseasons, made the announcement on Comedy Central. He said he plans to work for Barstool Sports.

Texans owner: 'We need much better' from QB position

It wasn't too long ago that Bob McNair was fending off reporters critical of quarterback Brock Osweiler. Based on the tone of the Houston Texans owner on Wednesday, it looks like the lion is no longer standing in front of his expensive cub.