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Bengals Bytes (1/17): Overhauling the Bengals

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Geoff Hobson gives his take on how the Bengals will go about improving their roster this offseason.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Bengals land guard, Ohio State defender in mock draft
In Matt Miller’s latest mock draft for Bleacher Report, the Bengals get stronger up front. Cincinnati lands Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson at No. 12, a coup given that he’s a top five player in the class, according to Miller.

Bengals Beat Podcast: Playoff trends, new coaches
Bengals beat writers Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski look at what trends Cincinnati can derive from this weekend's playoff games including a direct conversation about Andy Dalton. Plus, we talk about the latest coaching staff moves and what it means for the direction of the team.

AJ McCarron describes total chaos of the trade that almost sent him to the Browns
For roughly three minutes back in October, AJ McCarron thought that he had been traded to the Cleveland Browns. In what will easily go down as one of the most bizarre situations of the 2017 season, the Bengals and Browns appeared to have a trade in place on Oct. 31 that was going to send McCarron to Cleveland in a deal that would give the Bengals two draft picks (a second and third round pick in 2018).

Alexander calls last season his most rewarding
The Bengals and Cowboys have swapped offensive line coaches, but Paul Alexander isn’t trading in on his prediction that embattled Cincinnati tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher are going to make it. “Everyone is going to hammer Cedric and Fisher but a year from, now you’ll say, ‘Paul was right. These guys are good,’” Alexander said Tuesday as he drove around Dallas looking for a place to live for the first time in 24 years.

TDBH: Founding Father of Blitzburgh LeBeau leaves Steelers to return to Bengals
The news that has been percolating for the two weeks since the Patriots beat Pittsburgh in the AFC divisional playoffs becomes fact today when Bengals head coach Bruce Coslter engineers a quick raid on one of the jewels of the AFC Central and absconds with the zone blitz and creator Dick LeBeau one day after he leaves the Steelers as defensive coordinator. LeBeau returns to the same town where he gave birth to the zone blitz during the previous decade and Coslet gives him the same job here, the same one he had for eight seasons in Cincy in a reunion of the Bengals’ 1988 Super Bowl coordinators.

Harris packing a Pro Bowl bag
On Tuesday one of their own was named to the Pro Bowl when Clark Harris became the first pure long snapper in 50 years of Bengaldom to be sent to the NFL all-star game. And the guys packing him up for the Jan. 28 game in Orlando, Fla., know him better than most at Paul Brown Stadium. “He’s always in our room hanging out, talking to us, killing time,” said head equipment manager Adam Knollman after finding out they’ve got to get a bag ready for someone other than six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins. “Yeah, I guess you could say he’s an honorary equipment guy.”

Bengals LS Clark Harris Named to AFC Pro Bowl Team
Bengals LS Clark Harris has been named to the Pro Bowl, the NFL announced today. It is the first selection of Harris’ nine-year NFL career, and he becomes the first-ever Bengals long snapper to earn a Pro Bowl nod. Harris was chosen by Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin as a “need” player for the Pro Bowl roster (Tomlin’s staff will coach in the NFL’s annual All-Star game). The NFL stipulates that the head coach of each team chooses a “need” player, and those players must be long snappers.

Hobson's Choice: overhauls
No question they’ll use a draft of picks on the offensive line. Probably not at No. 12. From what I’m hearing early on that’s a deep position in rounds two to four and with an extra third you could easily see them coming out of the first two days with possibly two O-linemen. I think the Bengals are going to go through due diligence in free agency and look for line upgrades, but I also don’t see them straying far from their philosophy.

Bengals fans donating to Blake Bortles foundation for beating Steelers
Beating the Pittsburgh Steelers has paid off for Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in more ways than one. Cincinnati Bengals fans have been donating money to the Blake Bortles Foundation as a way to say thank you for the Jaguars' 45-42 victory last Sunday, which knocked one of the Bengals' biggest rivals out of the playoffs.

AFC North Bytes

Ravens Nest: The playoffs have shown what the Ravens are missing
That’s the kind of excitement and brand of football that has been missing in Baltimore for the last four or five years. Those games are the major reason why so many fans and media are looking forward to the annual state of the Ravens news conference. Head coach John Harbaugh has already said despite the team failing to qualify for the playoffs three straight years and four of the last five, his staff will remain the status quo and insisted the same for the front office staff as well.

Browns looking at former Giants coach Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator per report
McAdoo spent two years as the Giants’ offensive coordinator before being promoted to head coach, and before that he was the Packers’ quarterbacks coach. Before going to New York, McAdoo was in Green Bay for seven years while new Browns GM John Dorsey was also there.

Hilton signed to extension
The Steelers have signed cornerback Mike Hilton to a one-year contract extension, the team announced on Tuesday afternoon. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed. Hilton appeared in all 16 regular season games with four starts in 2017, recording 54 tackles (42 solo), 4.0 sacks, two interceptions, 10 tackles for losses, eight quarterback hits and six passes defensed.

Random Bytes

Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Tom Brady's the GOAT, but by How Much?
You're tired of the Patriots. So...damn...tired of them. For those of you who are not Patriots fans, seeing Tom Brady and Co. in yet another title game is like being trapped in a nightmare that will never end. If you are a Patriots fan, this is the stuff of fantasy.

NFL1000: Ranking the Top 3-4 Outside Linebackers from 2017 Season
The hybrid nature of modern NFL defenses requires players to do more than ever, and 3-4 outside linebackers are no exception. It's the rare "endbacker" who stays in one place throughout every snap of a game, let alone every snap of a season. Now, outside linebackers in three-man base fronts line up more often than not as defensive ends in four-man fronts with nickel and dime secondaries. In addition, many players categorized as outside linebackers who would have played exclusively on the edge in another era now also serve as linebacker depth.

Jaguars Can Stun Patriots with a Healthy Dose of Old-School Football
It always felt like there was only one team in the AFC not named the Pittsburgh Steelers that could knock off the New England Patriots. That team is the Jacksonville Jaguars, and merely mentioning them as a threat to the Patriots still feels like something only Jason Mendoza could say with sincere enthusiasm. Remember, the old Jaguars hadn't made the playoffs in nine seasons before winning the AFC South in 2017. They fired through three head coaches during that time and didn't have a record above .500.