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Bengals Bytes (7/25): Drafting competition

The Bengals drafted 11 players in this year’s draft, and it is going to make cutting down to the final 53-man roster pretty tough. Did the Ravens put a good enough supporting cast around Joe Flacco? Andrew Luck will start out training camp on the PUP list.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-John Ross Press Conference Sam Greene-USA TODAY Sports

Former UTSA running back Williams ready for challenge of first NFL camp |
No one could have faulted former UTSA running back Jarveon Williams had he slept in Saturday. After all, his time for relaxation will be severely curtailed after he reports to the Cincinnati Bengals’ training camp on Tuesday. But there Williams was at Universal City Park early Saturday, conducting his second annual 2Ten Development Camp for about 30 elementary-age kids.

Camp Carl: pedigree and poise
A few years back, one of the Georgia Gang that let the junior high kid work out with them during one of Atlanta’s searing summers when they got ready for their NFL seasons wanted to let his guys know that Carl was doing just fine playing for Milton High School in nearby Alpharetta. It might have been Hines Ward or Jamal Lewis or Wayne Gandy or Osi Umenyiora. Takeo Spikes is still smiling about it.

Bengals' 11-man draft class creates heavy competition on 53-man roster
The Bengals kept three quarterbacks on the active roster last season, after claiming Jeff Driskel off waivers. That's going to be a hard task this year if the Bengals want to find space for 11 new draft picks. The Bengals clearly like Driskel, a lot, but having three quarterbacks is considered a luxury on a 53-man roster. Driskel doesn't make the 53-man roster, for now, although it's certainly not out of the question to keep all three.

Do Cincinnati Bengals use William Jackson III while Adam Jones is out?
The Cincinnati Bengals will probably have to find a temporary replacement for veteran cornerback Adam Jones in the season opener. Jones will serve a one-game suspension for violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy and won't be able to play Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens unless he successfully appeals the decision.

Cincinnati Bengals: Don't forget Darqueze Dennard
Frustration, Frustration, Frustration. If you were ever looking for one word to describe Darqueze Dennard’s career to date, there you have it. The former Michigan State shutdown corner has yet to have a shot at proving his worth in the league. And, honestly, it’s not his fault.

Costas: Bengals 'running a halfway house for miscreants'
NBC Sports commentator Bob Costas, among the most well-known sports broadcasters, criticized the Cincinnati Bengals during a CNN interview on Sunday about why controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick isn't on an NFL roster.

Should the Bengals be worried about the Browns?
After ending last season with a 1-15 record, the Cleveland Browns have been quietly putting together a very solid offseason. The Hue Jackson change in Cleveland is starting to buzz. But, has there been enough change to worry about what the Browns might do this year?

AFC North Bytes

Does Joe Flacco have enough help for Baltimore Ravens to make playoffs
Does Joe Flacco have a strong enough supporting cast to end the Ravens’ two-year playoff drought? Baltimore devoted most of its resources in free agency and the draft on defense, and Flacco lost four of his top six targets (including Steve Smith Sr. and Dennis Pitta) as well as two three-year starters on the offensive line (right tackle Rick Wagner and center Jeremy Zuttah). The only additions to the offense were wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and running back Danny Woodhead. The Ravens have to figure out a way to jumpstart a running game that ranked No. 28 in the NFL last season and a passing game that finished No. 28 in efficiency (6.4 yards per attempt).

Savvy vet Tank Carder poised to take on bigger role in middle of Browns D
Tank Carder couldn’t help but notice how the Browns defense had a distinct edge to it by the end of offseason workouts. The veteran linebacker says it starts with new coordinator Gregg Williams, who has Carder and other members of the unit feeling bullish before Thursday’s first training camp practice

Steelers Need Jesse James To Become Conventional 'Quarterback's Best Friend' TE
One of the common narratives that we learn over the years about the game of football is that the tight end is the quarterback’s best friend. Generally speaking, the tight end represents a reliable set of hands that the quarterback can turn to as a release valve when he is under pressure. While the tight end position’s role in the passing game has begun to evolve over the years, melding more into a traditional wide receiver—provided that the specific player is athletic enough, of course—the general sentiment remains true even this era of the game. But it is important to note why that is.

Random Bytes

MMQB: NFL training camps begin, Power Rankings

This week's MMQB guest columnist is in Arizona to watch the first team hit the field and reports on the camp battle for the Cardinals cornerback position opposite Patrick Peterson. Plus more notes on moving a team to Los Angeles from a man who should know, an opinion on the Michael Vick hair flap and the keys for the 15 best teams heading into the season.

NFL record projections for every team: Patriots on path for 16-0?
With NFL training camps opening, all 32 teams have largely taken form for 2017. So before injuries, benchings, firings and (more) suspensions start shaping the season, here's USA TODAY Sports' annual prediction of how the season will unfold with record projections for each team based on picking all 256 games, plus a bonus playoff forecast.

Andrew Luck to Begin Colts Training Camp on PUP List After Shoulder Surgery
Indianapolis Colts star Andrew Luck will get a late start to training camp this season as he will be placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, per Andrew Siciliano of NFL Network. Despite the designation, the quarterback has reportedly not had a setback from his offseason shoulder surgery. According to Mike Chappell of Fox59, the team is more concerned about his long-term health so there is no timetable to return, but things remain positive.

John Elway, Broncos Agree on New 5-Year Contract
John Elway transformed the Denver Broncos into Super Bowl champions as one of the leading minds in the team's front office, and he was rewarded for his commitment to the franchise Monday with a new five-year contract. The Broncos announced the new deal after ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the agreement. Schefter later reported that while figures aren't yet available, the contract is "fully expected" to make Elway the league's highest-paid general manager.