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Bengals Bytes (4/29): Message from the big Dogg

John Ross gets congratulatory video from his former coach, Snoop Dogg. The Browns add a ray of hope on the second day of the draft. A new trend may have been set for star college players to sit out bowl games before the draft.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reception Perception: John Ross and Going Beyond the Speed
Coming off the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, the biggest story is without question John Ross and his now quantified speed. Ross ripped off an official 4.22 seconds time in the 40-yard dash, which broke Chris Johnson’s previously held record of 4.24 from 2008. We already knew Ross was fast, but this act proved he was on another level of speed.

Bengals Draft Rd 3 News Conference Transcript
With this pick here in the third round, we really feel fortunate to be able to pick Jordan Willis. Obviously, through his career at Kansas State, he’s been a big producer for them. I think he had an outstanding end-of-the-season bowl game, Senior Bowl, and then what he did in Indianapolis (at the NFL Combine) to confirm his physical tools. He’s a guy who plays hard. He’s played a lot of football. Those guys are playing almost 90 snaps per game there in that conference sometimes defensively. We’re really looking forward to him being a guy who comes in and helps in the rotation of our players here, and he hopefully can make a positive contribution and take some snaps off some of the other guys.

Mixon Goes to Bengals in NFL Draft Second Round
NORMAN — Running back Joe Mixon became the 80th Sooner in the 18-year Bob Stoops era to be selected in the NFL Draft when he was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 16th pick in the second round (48th overall) Friday night. A potent and versatile offensive weapon in the Oklahoma backfield the last two years, Mixon set the OU single-season record for all-purpose yards (2,331) and all-purpose yards per game (194.3) as a sophomore in 2016, the same season he earned first-team All-Big 12 honors and scored 16 total touchdowns (10 rushing, five receiving and one kickoff return).

Mixon agent glad Bengals called
There are times agents want their client to go as high as possible in the NFL Draft.

And there are times like Friday night when veteran representative Peter Schaffer wanted his guy, embattled Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, to go a certain kind of a town and a team.

Emotional Mixon thanks Bengals
After meeting with him at Paul Brown Stadium and on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, the Bengals expressed enough confidence in running back Joe Mixon to take him with the 48st pick in the second round of Friday night’s NFL Draft following a trade with the Vikings.

The Bengals now have three fourth-round picks when they picked up No. 128 from old friend Mike Zimmer.

Bengals Draft Rd 2 News Conference Transcript
Obviously this a pick that opens everybody’s eyes. We’ve done such a lot of work regarding Joe Mixon throughout the entire process this year. Based on all the time and all the research, we felt that we can continue to move forward. Joe’s situation kind of came to a settlement in all ways this week which has also led us to feel better about the opportunity here and to move forward.

Bengals Add Willis to D-Line in Third Round
As he sat at home in Kansas City, Jordan Willis thought there was a chance that he would be drafted in the second half of the first round.

“Me and my agent kept an open mind about what could happen,” said Willis. “He gave me a range of (picks) 19 to 45.”

Cincinnati Bengals pick up Darqueze Dennard's fifth-year option
The Bengals have exercised the fifth-year option on cornerback Darqueze Dennard, the team announced Friday, minutes after the second round of the 2017 NFL draft began.

Dennard, who was selected 24th overall in the first round of the 2014 draft, will now be tied to the Bengals through 2018.

Snoop Dogg sends draft-day message to Bengals' John Ross
John Ross, the newest Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, received a special video message on Thursday.

It was from his old coach, congratulating him on being taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. Those kinds of messages are normal on draft day, when NFL prospects are inundated with congratulations from family and friends.

College Sports: Why Bengals believe they can 'move forward' with baggage-laden RB Joe Mixon | SportsDay
Were it not for one incident caught on tape, former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon probably wouldn't be available on the second day of the NFL draft. But because of the 2014 incident in which he punched a woman in the face, Mixon was among many interested parties wondering if and when he was going to be chosen.

Cincinnati Bengals take DE Jordan Willis in third round
The Cincinnati Bengals continued their shopping spree for speed Friday night in the third round when they took Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis, whose 4.53 40-yard dash at the Combine was the fastest of any defensive lineman.

AFC North Bytes

Steelers Select Cancer Survivor James Conner in 3rd Round of 2017 NFL Draft
Running back James Conner won't have to travel far to start his NFL career after the Pittsburgh Steelers made him the 105th pick of the 2017 NFL draft.

Eisenberg: Ravens Have Obsessively Improved Their Defense
From the outset, they’ve focused on building up their secondary, one of their most vulnerable areas in recent years. No one can say they’ve gone about it halfheartedly.

Last month, they invested considerable dollars to make two defensive backs, Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr, their top free agent signings. Thursday night, they used their top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on a cornerback, Marlon Humphrey.

Selection of Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer gives Browns fans hope on second day of draft
Only in Cleveland can a draft that began with a top-of-the-draft, elite pass rusher with a star personality (Myles Garrett) need – and receive – a pick-me-up on the second day from a quarterback with a 4-8 record in his last college season. Yes, it’s all about the quarterback in the city that has had one winning field general – Brian Hoyer – in almost 30 years.

Random Bytes

Fantasy football - NFL draft Round 2 fantasy reaction
ESPN Fantasy's Mike Clay breaks down the fantasy impact of each skill-position pick from the second and third rounds of the NFL draft on Friday.

Leonard Fournette Christian McCaffrey start trend skipping bowl game NFL draft
When Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette decided to skip their bowl games last December, nobody really knew how it would impact their NFL draft status, or that of future players considering the same choice.

We found out very quickly Thursday night -- with a rubber stamp of approval from the NFL. All those who thought perhaps league executives would frown upon players abandoning their teams to get a jump on their NFL careers got a resounding answer.

The NFL Turned The Draft Into A Festival, And It Actually Worked
It’s easy to hate on the NFL Draft. First off, it’s run by the National Football League. It’s also a draft, a weird process that limits the earning power and freedom of movement of young men. Also, while my friend may watch the draft every year, I think the actual action—name is called, player walks up, wait around, repeat for three days—is incredibly boring.

Five questions heading into Day 3 of 2017 NFL Draft
The 2017 NFL Draft has seen 107 names fly off the board, including a common-draft era record 26 defensive backs in the first three rounds.

Not even half over, though, the draft still has 146 players to be selected on Saturday. With that in mind, here are a handful of questions that will be answered in rounds four through seven

Drew Pearson just went toe-to-toe with Philadelphia
The NFL draft's return to Philadelphia will be remembered as a game-changer.

Opening up the annual event to an outdoor audience of this scope has unlocked previously hidden charms. Colleague Conor Orr, who has his boots on the ground in Philly this week, likened the scene to football's version of Coachella and he's not wrong. Consider it a lightbulb moment: Draft season is when optimism is at its highest for all 32 fanbases. What if you leaned into that?