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Bengals Bytes (3/29): Change of the guard

Marvin Lewis is hoping that players who the Bengals have drafted can fill the holes left by free agent departures. The Browns are looking to possibly make a drastic uniform change. Which teams have the most to work with during the draft, and how they got there.

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

NFL Draft: 7 players the Cincinnati Bengals could select at No. 9

Other than quarterback, all options will be open for the Cincinnati Bengals when they pick ninth in next month’s NFL Draft.

Notes: McCarron trade talks won't die; Lewis hints at a big price; Rules passed

If Marvin Lewis went into his 15th annual NFL meeting looking to make 0.0 headlines, mission accomplished. Ironically, it was his lone joke during Tuesday’s 63-minute session that came the closest to getting a few clicks. Told the Bengals should ask Cleveland for the 12th pick in next month’s draft in exchange for backup quarterback AJ McCarron, Lewis instead offered, “How about No. 1 ?”

'It's now their time'

The Bengals lost more than 500 games of NFL experience in the past two weeks when they moved on from nose tackle Domata Peko (171), left tackle Andrew Whitworth (168), middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (114), and right guard Kevin Zeitler (72). But head coach Marvin Lewis, who has sat through 15 seasons of coaching changes in the AFC Coaches Media Breakfast, saw it like this

Following departures, Bengals' offensive line is the weakest unit in 2017

Now that the Cincinnati Bengals are three weeks into free agency, they have a more accurate picture of how the roster will look heading into the 2017 draft. We're taking a look at each position, how it changed in free agency and where it stands now.

Bengals' curious decision on Andrew Whitworth biggest free-agent surprise in AFC North

Andrew Whitworth's leaving the Bengals for the Rams was one of the more surprising moves to occur early in free agency. Whitworth, 35, has been a staple at left tackle for Cincinnati and a longtime leader in the locker room. It seemed almost unfathomable that he would be allowed to walk away, considering how much the Bengals offensive line struggled in 2016. Whitworth's replacement, Cedric Ogbuehi, taken in the first round of the 2015 draft, struggled at right tackle, was benched and did not fare much better in one game at left tackle.

NFL Draft Needs: Bengals

The Bengals seemed all set up front when they used first- and second-round picks on Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in the 2015 draft. Ogbuehi now looks like a bust, and Fisher has failed to earn consistent playing time. C Russell Bodine is entering a contract year. As both LT Andrew Whitworth and RG Kevin Zeitler left in free agency, Cincinnati threatens to field one of the NFL’s worst 2017 lines.

AFC North Bytes

Browns apparently hate their uniforms, reportedly considering wild helmet change

Whoever was in charge of designing the Browns’ uniforms might not have a job for long, because apparently the team already hates the new look. Less than two years after unveiling a completely new uniform, the Browns are already looking to start over.

It's only March, but the Ravens' roster has several holes that are on Harbaugh's mind

Ravens coach John Harbaugh admits he ponders a reunion with free agent wide receiver Anquan Boldin every day. The organization's search for another reliable target for quarterback Joe Flacco is not dominating Harbaugh's thoughts, though, because there's much more to consider.

Steelers shell out $1 million dollars without signing a free agent

The Pittsburgh Steelers took another hit to their precarious salary cap position on Tuesday. Did the Steelers sign another free agent? No. The Steelers had to make the final installment from their borrowing $3 million against the salary cap in 2011 and another $1.5 million in 2012. This was done for teams to be able to retain high-priced veterans.

Random Bytes

Two-Round Mock Draft

The combine is over, free agency has filled holes or created voids on depth charts and we are a month from the draft. It's time for a mock draft.

2017 NFL Draft: Unheralded Prospects Opening Eyes at Pro Days

Every step of the draft process is an opportunity for lesser-known prospects to make a name for themselves. Without fail, a few take advantage. This year multiple prospects already established themselves after little fanfare during the regular season. Florida Atlantic's Trey Hendrickson dominated at the East-West Shrine Game. Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon stole the show at the Senior Bowl. Temple's Haason Reddick made his case at the NFL combine to be the first linebacker selected in April.

NFL Free Agency 2017: Reviewing the Biggest Steals

Free agency is a game of sorts, and the goal is clear on both sides. The players need to take advantage of what is often their only opportunity to truly cash in, and extract as much money as possible from the open market. The mission ahead for teams is more complex. Front offices pursue value, aiming to maximize all their financial resources. The aim is to squeeze every last bit of production out of each dollar. To do that, there's a constant chase after the free-agency steal.

Report: Patriots will not consider drafting Joe Mixon

Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is the most controversial player in this year’s draft, a first-round talent who was caught on tape hitting a woman in an incident every bit as ugly as the one that ended Ray Rice’s career.

NFL teams with the most, least 2017 draft capital

With free agency mostly over, the next stop on the professional football calendar is in Philadelphia for the NFL draft on April 27. It's still possible we might see a trade or two in advance of the draft, but there's not the same sort of late-March chatter we heard last year, when the Titans and Browns dealt out of the first and second picks of the draft, respectively. Barring a major trade, we should have a solid sense of how much draft capital each team has to work with for the upcoming season.