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Bengals Bytes (1/24): Frank Pollack talks about what he looks for in offensive linemen

Frank Pollack likes guys with a nasty streak, but he isn’t close to making any decisions about the offensive linemen currently on the team.

NFL: JUL 24 Cowboys Training Camp Photo by Chris Williams/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images

Bengals hold the 12th overall Draft selection
This year’s Draft will be hosted in Arlington, TX at AT&T Stadium – home of the Dallas Cowboys- from April 26-28. With the Bengals’ win over the Baltimore Ravens, it became official that Cincinnati will hold the 12th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Cincinnati Bengals need to identify problems before playoffs
While most fans will blindly propel the Bengals into the pageantry of Super Bowl LIII, it’s best to take it slow. Yes, there’s a ton of talent available for Marvin Lewis and Co. to mold. But, there’s also the issue of identifying what went wrong during the 2017 season. After blowing another year and finishing at 7-9, the instinctive thing to do is blame every aspect of the team. But, there were shining moments mixed with the mediocrity. If the Bengals are going to become competitive enough for the playoffs, it’s time to look at the weaknesses.

TDBH: Best Bengals team ever ‘runs out of time’ in Super Bowl XVI
Whenever the Bengals of Winter gather to reminisce, never mind Joe Montana to John Taylor. The one that really hurts is the ice pick through the heart tonight in the Pontiac Silverdome during the franchise’s first Super Bowl in that Arctic opening to ’82. Considered the best Bengals team ever and today’s best team on the field, they can’t recover from a nightmarish first half of three turnovers that translate to 17 San Francisco points in a 20-0 half-time deficit and lead to a 26-21 loss.

Down the line
During the break between Tuesday’s first Senior Bowl practices, Frank Pollack, the Bengals’ new offensive line coach and the critical hire in head coach Marvin Lewis’ recent staff overhaul, tried to dust off the report Jim McNally wrote on him nearly 30 years ago. Using the short-handed scout speak McNally helped craft for modern line coaches, Pollack stood at his end-zone seat at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and rattled off the traits McNally must have seen in his visit to Flagstaff, Ariz., before the 1990 draft.

2018 NFL Mock Draft – First Round: The AFC North Division
The Cleveland Browns ended their season 0-16, however, help may be on the way real soon. The Cincinnati Bengals dodged another bullet as Marvin Lewis signed a new deal to remain coach, and the Baltimore Ravens were a wide receiver away from making the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Steelers will face questions this offseason as to what will happen to their dynamic offense if Bell decides to retire. But the bigger question is, what will these teams do in the 2018 NFL Draft?

AFC North Bytes

Browns' John Dorsey indicates Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield are in the discussion at No. 1
Browns GM John Dorsey will meet with Wyoming's Josh Allen and Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield at the Senior Bowl, but has already indicated they're in the discussion for the Browns' pick at No. 1. Others on the radar are USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen and possibly one more. Darnold and Rosen are not here at the Senior Bowl, but Dorsey and Hue Jackson will have a chance to interview Allen and Mayfield.

Ravens news, notes and opinions on a potential draft quandary, Jarvis Landry fit, backup QB
It’s far too early to get a definitive read on the 2018 draft, which doesn’t start until April 26. But I’m already sensing an obvious storyline for the Ravens who have the 16th overall pick in the first round. Will they be able to fill their primary need — a reliable target for quarterback Joe Flacco — if they stand pat in the first round?

Random Bytes

NFL replay critics need to stop the obsession
We have gotten to a crazy place in football. Crazy. We think that occurrences on the football field that last 0.94 seconds (and I timed it six times—that was the average) and then are slo-moed for hours, Zapruder-like, first on the game telecast and then on the Sunday night highlight shows and then online for hours, can be sensibly dissected and critiqued in real time. It’s just so unrealistic.

James Bettcher Reportedly Named Giants Defensive Coordinator
The New York Giants have reportedly found their new defensive coordinator. On Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported they hired James Bettcher to fill the position. Rapoport noted Bettcher chose New York over the Tennessee Titans. This comes after the Giants announced Monday they hired former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as their new head coach.

Mike Freeman's 10-Point Stance: Pats Conspiracy Theories Are the NFL's UFOs
This is the age of conspiracy theories, and in the NFL, there is no bigger tin foil hat than the one worn by those who espouse the conspiracy that everyone from the refs to the league office to the media is in on the New England Patriots. Each time I write about the Patriots, or tweet about them, there are thousands of conspiracy theorists who respond that the league is rigged in favor of the Patriots.