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Bengals Bytes (5/1): Tough cuts

The Bengals had a great draft, and it could lead to some tough decisions when they have to cut down to the final 53-man roster. The Browns are getting high marks for their draft. Ken Griffey Jr.’s son has made it to the NFL as an undrafted free agent.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Bengal Chris Crocker launches sports tech company, teams with FC Cincinnati
Retired Cincinnati Bengal Chris Crocker has launched a tech startup that aims to make it easier for sports fans to get autographed merchandise directly from players while also giving players more control over selling their autographs.

Drafting woman-puncher already blowing up on Bengals
The Bengals are facing a backlash over their decision to draft running back Joe Mixon, who punched a woman in the face while at Oklahoma. Cincinnati added to its reputation for embracing players with troubled histories when they took Mixon in the second round on Friday night. Even before Mixon arrived in town, the choice was getting panned. WCPO-TV posted an editorial on Saturday</a> saying the club had gone too far this time. The editorial urged fans to stop buying Bengals tickets and instead donate the money to organizations that work to prevent violence against women.

Hobson's Choice: upon further review
Brandon LaFell is going nowhere and as of right now I think they’re going to do everything possible to keep seven wide receivers. The coaches absolutely love Josh Malone and I think everyone in their room thought he’d be gone in the second round. But he just turned 21 and the sense is he’s viewed as a guy that’s going to need a year to develop and will probably be inactive for most games. So LaFell and Malone are going nowhere and they also covet Cody Core and Alex Erickson, so the sense is that tough cut may be elsewhere. But that’s a long way off.

2017 NFL draft best, riskiest moves: Spotlight on QB Watson, RB Mixon
Adding edge rushers Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson in the third and fourth rounds. No. 9 overall selection John Ross could end up being one of the best receivers in the draft, but he has a lot of durability concerns. The Bengals got a ton of value in Willis and Lawson, who were still on the board long after they were expected to be drafted.

5 Reasons The Cincinnati Bengals' Draft Rocked
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is how it all turned out. There were moments that made for head scratching and low curses. But, the Bengals accomplished what they set out to do. Marvin Lewis and Co. had a productive effort that will be remembered for many reasons. Yet, the results are yet to be seen. Fans are reeling over forsaken mock drafts and picks that got away. But, the Bengals stayed true to form and had a solid three days that will come together in June.

NFL Draft | Boom Williams signs with Cincinnati Bengals
Boom Williams’ decision to leave Kentucky a year early may not have resulted in an NFL draft selection, but it appears to at least have given him a short trip to start his NFL career.

After not being selected in the seven-round draft, Williams has signed a free-agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to the official UK Football Twitter account.

Paul Daugherty Bengals draft Joe Mixon column
Every so often in this business, we cling to the notion that character matters in professional sports. It keeps us from losing our minds.

There has to be a suggestion of nobility in our games. Something that uplifts and elevates. Something that makes us feel better for having been there. These players are “our guys.’’

Speed the name of Bengals draft game
One of the oldest clichés in the aftermath of any draft involves referring to the team getting younger and faster. Every year, those two almost impossible to avoid characteristics attach to a team’s draft analysis.

This year the Bengals got faster. Only, this was not a cliché. This was a referendum.

AFC North Bytes

Browns earn high marks in draft for not over-thinking No. 1 pick and getting a quarterback in second round
It’s been a while since the Browns received such positive marks universally for their draft.

Last year’s first effort by the New Browns Order was praised only by the analytics proponents. The fact is, the 2016 Browns draft was not very good, as not a single player among the 14 made a difference in a 1-15 season.

Draft is over, but reworking of Ravens roster far from done
There is no deadline for improving an NFL roster. Ozzie Newsome reminded everyone of that at every opportunity during the three-day draft, and his history as Ravens general manager bears it out.

2017 Offseason Questions: Which Position Remains Weakest Post-Draft?
The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

Random Bytes

Why the Bills might finally be due now that Doug Whaley's rocky tenure is over
One of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL over the weekend was that this was going to be the last draft for Bills general manager Doug Whaley in Buffalo. The GM who was seemingly in perpetual purgatory, and whose tenure nearly came to an end several times in the past, was truly nearing his final days with the team.

Ken Griffey Jr.'s Son Trey Reportedly Will Sign with Colts After Going Undrafted
Trey Griffey, the son of Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., will reportedly sign with the Indianapolis Colts after not being selected in the 2017 NFL draft.

San Francisco 49ers draft room during Bears trade, more
Trades to move up, deals to slide down and the selection of a player not even on the board. John Lynch’s first draft had everything, including historical parallels that gave the rookie GM goose bumps. How it all went down, plus notes on best picks, the Bears’ rationale and more from Philly

NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand After the Draft?
The NFL draft is complete, giving us a nearly complete feel for how all 32 NFL rosters will look by the time September rolls around.

A lot can and will change between now and then, but with the bread and butter of the offseason in the books, we have a chance to step back and take a broad look at where every team stands.