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Bengals Bytes (4/13): Open for competition

Jeremy Hill hopes the Bengals draft one of the draft’s best running backs, so he can compete with them. A Steeler player got away with trying to bring a gun on a plane. Wocka Flocka Flame played a poop prank on Rob Gronkowski’s cruise.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

AJ McCarron 'absolutely a starter' in the NFL, Nick Saban says |

Nick Saban has a 210-61-1 on-the-field record as a college football coach, good for a .774 winning percentage. Take out the games in which AJ McCarron was Saban's starting quarterback, and the coach's career winning percentage dips to .752.

Fantasy Football: How Bengals can boost offense through NFL Draft

The 2016 Bengals were a massive disappointment, whether it was in Fantasy or the NFL. A.J. Green was the lone bright spot from this offense, as Andy Dalton struggled mightily and went from potential sleeper quarterback to an afterthought to many owners. Then free agency hit, and it seemed as though the Bengals lost every offensive lineman they had. They brought back Andre Smith, but drafting linemen will be a huge priority for this team in 2017.

Hobson's Choice: when and where?

The critics roared when the Bengals took LSU left tackle Andrew Whitworth in the second round in 2006 when Levi Jones was only in his fifth season and nearing the elite after just signing an extension. But Jones’ knees gave out and Whitworth became a Pro Bowl left tackle during the club’s most successful stretch in history. The depth chart didn’t say it, but the board did.

Jeremy Hill: If Bengals draft RB, he'll be my backup

Three of Cincy's most unheralded, but vital, offensive players -- Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, Rex Burkhead -- departed in free agency. Marvin Lewis indicated that he doesn't expect to receive a contract extension after this season. Now, the Bengals are requesting visits from the draft's top running backs, already one of their deeper positions.

Going Deep in 2017 NFL Draft: Bengals add talent to every unit except quarterback

The Cincinnati Bengals have 11 picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 9 in the first round on April 27 in Philadelphia. Look around the NFL, and when an offense struggles, it's often because of issues on the line. The Bengals hope that won't be the case this year following an offseason that saw the departures of tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler. That's a lot of talent gone.

NFL Draft: Cincinnati Bengals draft prospects at defensive tackle

When it comes to defensive tackle, the Cincinnati Bengals have one sure thing and a whole bunch of questions. Geno Atkins is a five-time Pro Bowler whose presence alone will make anyone lining up next to him that much better. But the question is, with Domata Peko ending his run of 11 seasons in Cincinnati by signing with Denver, who will be lining up next to Atkins? The list of possible replacements features a lot of potential but little production.

The case for Cincinnati Bengals drafting Christian McCaffrey

LSU running back Leonard Fournette made it into our Sports Today morning column two days in a row, which is a sure sign the Cincinnati Bengals won’t bother drafting him. Of course if they can render all our pre-draft speculation meaningless they will, right?

AFC North Bytes

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Brings Gun to Airport, Not Arrested

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Senquez Golson was stopped by TSA agents at an airport in Alabama after they found a handgun and bullets in his carry-on bag ... TMZ Sports has learned. Maybe he was flying United???

Could Jets dial up Browns (again) to secure their QB of the future?

Quarterbacks are like gas prices, heat, blood pressure and dough: They rise, especially as it gets closer to the NFL draft. For weeks, months even, the Cleveland Browns were reportedly locked into taking defensive end Myles Garrett with the No. 1 overall pick. But now they're said to be considering quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Baltimore Ravens haven't dealt first-round pick since Super Bowl win

The Baltimore Ravens have gone from one of the most active movers in the first round to a team that hasn't made a trade in that round since their Super Bowl season. The last time the Ravens struck a deal in the first round was 2012, when they traded out of it. The four years of remaining pat in the first round matches the longest stretch in franchise history. The only other time was the Ravens' first four drafts.

Random Bytes

The sack whisperer: How an ex-NFL player became the Phil Jackson of pass rush gurus

Can an NFL pass rusher be made? Can you take the raw skill, mold it, craft it, teach it, and turn it into quarterback-menacing player who has to be accounted for on every play? NFL stars like Von Miller and an army of young sack artists swear by the teachings of Chuck Smith.

Waka Flocka Flame and DJ Whoo Kid were blamed for a poop prank on the Gronk Cruise

It appears that the Rob Gronkowski’s cruise from 2016 has had some lingering effects, and they involve Waka Flocka Flame and DJ Whoo Kid being banned from Norwegian Cruise Line ships.

Solomon Thomas is the 2017 NFL draft’s most frustrating prospect

Retired NFL defensive end Stephen White takes a closer look at the Stanford pass rusher and sees a player who isn’t living up to his potential.

10 draft prospects we're higher on than most

Senior Analyst Mike Renner identifies 10 prospects our team is higher on than the general draft community, including Tennessee's Derek Barnett.