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Bengals Bytes (3/30): Why Cincinnati is sticking with Vontaze Burfict

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The Bengals have stuck with Vontaze Burfict through some frustrating suspensions, but is there a reason beyond him being their best linebacker?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals 7-round mock draft
The Cincinnati Bengals have 11 draft picks and only five or six real holes to fill, so expect some major movement to happen on draft weekend. There should be no excuse for not fixing their offensive line by the time the end of the draft rolls around, as the Bengal needs three new starters as soon as the team can acquire them.

Paul Daugherty: Cincinnati Bengals want to 'win now.' So does entire NFL
“Very much the offseason for us has been focused on win now, we are not in a building program,” executive vice president Troy Blackburn said to Dehner. I’m a little confused. Aren’t all the league’s members theoretically in “win now’’ mode? All the time? Isn’t that how the NFL’s socialist economy is set up? Salary cap, draft order, scheduling: Aren’t they all geared toward keeping every team thinking Win Now? Or at least pursuing the more perfect 8-8?

Bengals showing interest in USF QB Quinton Flowers
The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t been shy about looking at quarterbacks this offseason on the path to the 2018 NFL draft, even after adding Matt Barkley. Call it due diligence for a team with 11 picks in the draft and a need for depth behind Andy Dalton.

Should the Bengals Draft Dalton's Successor This Year?
His on-field play has polarized the Bengals fan base, with some believing Dalton is a solid NFL quarterback whose best play can lead Cincinnati to a Super Bowl. Others are tired of the mediocrity and seek a signal caller with more upside than. In fact, Dalton has hit both these extremes while starting for the Bengals, ranging from MVP-caliber play during the 2015 campaign to games whose tapes should be burned and the ashes were hidden where no one can find them (see: 2017, Week 1 vs. Baltimore).

AJ McCarron’s former coaches gush over QB’s presence – The Buffalo News
ORLANDO, Fla. – Marvin Lewis broke into a smile and seemed on the verge of laughing out loud while he spoke about AJ McCarron. Lewis coached McCarron the past four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. For now, McCarron is expected to be the Buffalo Bills' opening-day quarterback.

Former Bengals head coach takes job as college assistant | WKRC
HANOVER, N.H. (AP) Dartmouth has hired a son of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula as an assistant football coach.The Valley News reported Thursday that David Shula has agreed to guide the Big Green's receivers for coach Buddy Teevens.

TDBH: Stunned Fest plucked by Tampa Bay in expansion draft
The Bengals, who participate in their own expansion draft eight brief years ago, lose the maximum three players today from an 11-3 team when newcomers Seattle and Tampa Bay get the calls. Seattle grabs back-up safety Lyle Blackwood and Tampa Bay takes another back-up safety in rookie Ricky Davis, an eighth-round pick that primarily held on kicks last season. But it is Tampa Bay’s selection of offensive lineman Howard Fest that rocks Bengaldom. Fest, one of the five original Bengals left, never misses a game, can play both guard and tackle, backs up center Bob Johnson, and is coming off a season he has 11 of his 96 Bengals starts at left guard.

Why the Bengals are sticking by Vontaze Burfict
In an offseason otherwise full of positives for the Bengals personnel staff, the four-game suspension levied against Vontaze Burfict for performance-enhancing drugs served as a rain cloud blocking the sun. This was nothing new, of course. This marked the third consecutive season Burfict would open the year with at least a three-game suspension, assuming this one is upheld. League sources told The Enquirer they believe it will.

Linebacker coach Jim Haslett at Texas pro day
Jim Haslett, linebacker coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, was in attendance today at the Texas pro day getting a good look at linebacker Malik Jefferson. Haslett was seen running drills with Jefferson up close at the pro day. Jefferson had a great combine performance and looks to be taken in the earlier rounds of the 2018 draft.

AFC North Bytes

Le'Veon Bell alludes to being city's 'villain' in cryptic tweet
It certainly looks like Le’Veon Bell is fed up with just about everyone. The running back appeared to turn up the heat on his contentious contract negotiations with the Steelers when he posted this tweet Thursday afternoon.

Dee Haslam confirms Browns will make changes to uniforms
The new uniforms will debut in the 2020 season. As Haslam noted, the current Browns uniforms have not been well-received by the fan base. There are no initial designs available just yet. There is also no word on whether the changes would also apply to the iconic orange helmet with no logo.

Random Bytes

Baker Mayfield Keeps List of Media Members Who Have 'Crossed a Line'
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield says he keeps track of criticism from the media and uses it as motivation leading up to the 2018 NFL draft. According to Robert Klemko of The MMQB, Mayfield told Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson during filming for ESPN's QB2QB that he keeps a list of media members who he believes have "crossed a line" with their critiques

Patriots no-huddle relies on power of one
When the Patriots’ offense is at its best and running roughshod over opponents — like getting out to a 31-7 lead in Sunday’s 31-21 victory over the Broncos — it’s when they are going with the fast version of their no-huddle offense.

The NFL's Riskiest Offseasons Aren't Happening Where You Might Think
You've probably already heard this, but it's incredibly risky to make aggressive moves like the Rams have this offseason. The way they're building their roster will end in one of two ways in 2018: They'll either make the 1985 Bears look like a JV squad, or they will implode in training camp when Marcus Peters punches Aqib Talib for stealing his chain and Aaron Donald goes on sit-down strike after seeing Ndamukong Suh's bank statement.