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Bengals Bytes (3/1): More Carl Lawson in 2018

Teryl Austin vows to use Carl Lawson more after his breakout rookie season.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals will 'expand' Carl Lawson's role after breakout rookie season
After an All-Rookie season, Carl Lawson will have an even bigger role for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018. The former Auburn Buck end had 16 tackles with 8.5 sacks for the Bengals last season, most among rookies. Pro Football Focus credited Lawson with 59 total pressures (sacks, hits and hurries), also most among rookies.

2018 NFL Scouting Combine QB AJ McCarron Cincinnati Bengals Rumors
Unlike the machinations and conversations that occurred (or didn't occur) behind closed doors on October 31 surrounding the failed acquisition of AJ McCarron via a trade, the Cleveland Browns were swift and decisive when asked about the Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. No comment.

2018 NFL Mock Draft: Bengals find Andy Dalton's successor in Lamar Jackson
It's time for the Cincinnati Bengals to move on from quarterback Andy Dalton, who might just be the most mediocre quarterback in the NFL. So, since I'm in control of all 32 teams for the next couple thousand words, that's exactly what they'll do in this mock draft. Or at the very least, it's what they'll begin to do.

Tyler Eifert's injury history muddles potential new deal with Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin indicated at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday that the team would like to see tight end Tyler Eifert return. He also admitted he had no way of predicting if the sides could come to a deal. "If we can get Tyler Eifert back, we'll see what the offseason holds for him," Tobin said. "If he can get on the field and stay on the field, he's a pretty dynamic weapon, too."

Bengals plan to make Joe Mixon the 'bell-cow' running back in 2018
Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said that Mixon will be the lead running back next season, and they plan to lean on him heavily. This isn't a surprise considering Mixon began getting double-digit carries when Jeremy Hill went on injured reserve late in the season. It does essentially seal Hill's imminent departure, however. Hill will be a free agent in March, and has already posted his goodbyes to Cincinnati on social media. He was not even mentioned during Tobin's news conference at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday.

Tobin: Dalton's the guy; Eifert a target; New world on OL
Duke Tobin wouldn’t make a grand pronouncement Wednesday at the NFL scouting combine like ruling out taking a quarterback with the 12th pick in the April 26 first round of the NFL draft. But Tobin, the Bengals director of player personnel, made it clear Andy Dalton is the club’s unquestioned quarterback and that all options to replace AJ McCarron as Dalton’s backup are on the table.

TDBH: Riley first all-Bengal inducted into Black College Football Hall
Ken Riley, the man who has played the most games in Bengals history, draws another assignment here tonight during an enshrinement ceremony at the College Football Hall of Fame. As a member of the Black College Hall of Fame’s sixth class, Riley is one of the first 48 players selected and the first Bengal who played his entire career in Cincinnati. Grambling wide receiver Charlie Joiner, who plays four seasons with the Bengals in the early ‘70s, also beats Riley to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where they still wait for Riley’s 65 NFL interceptions. But of the 21 Pro Football Hall-of-Famers who are with Riley in Atlanta, none of them do what Riley does. He goes from Florida A&M’s swashbuckling quarterback who scrambles the Rattlers to the brink of a black college national title to an All-Pro cornerback on the other side of the ball.

QBs still a topic
For a team that is set at quarterback with Andy Dalton, Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin had a lot to say about the position during Wednesday’s media availability at the NFL scouting combine. First of all, Tobin basically said an arbitrator’s decision two weeks ago that set free backup quarterback AJ McCarron stunk.

AFC North Bytes

Alex Collins is only Raven selected to PFF’s Top 101 players — and he’s No. 101
t’s that time of the year when end-of-season lists come trickling out. While Ravens players don’t normally feature prominently on those sort of things, they have been unusually absent from this year’s iterations. Case in point: Pro Football Focus’ Top 101.Released earlier this month, the list features only a single Raven: running back Alex Collins.

Hue Jackson: ‘I think the future is really bright’ to lure free agents
After his official press conference with the gathered media on the lower floor of the Convention Center, Jackson made an appearance with Nathan Zegura for an interview on the Browns official website. The topic of luring free agents to Cleveland came up. Jackson is aware of the challenge that the team’s 1-31 record the last two seasons presents in attracting talent.

Random Bytes

Odell Beckham Jr. Reportedly Wants $20 Million Per Year in New Contract
Odell Beckham Jr. is reportedly eyeing a new contract that will pay him north of $20 million annually on average. Appearing on NFL Network's Up to the Minute on Wednesday, Mike Garafolo disclosed Beckham wants to become the highest-paid receiver in the league.

Report: Rob Gronkowski Expected to Return to Patriots Despite Retirement Rumors
Rob Gronkowski made headlines when he did not commit to playing in 2018 following his team's Super Bowl LII loss earlier this month, but it appears retirement will have to wait. On Wednesday, Ian Rapoport reported the New England Patriots tight end is expected to play in the NFL next season

Spielman remains tight-lipped about team's quarterback talks
As he stepped up to a podium Wednesday morning, greeted by a throng of reporters itching to learn how he plans to handle perhaps the most intriguing quarterback situation in the league, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman employed a tactic he’s used many times at the NFL scouting combine: talking much while saying little.