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Bengals Bytes (4/28): Cincinnati gets defensive

The Bengals spent all of Day 2 upgrading their defense.

NCAA Football: Belk Bowl-Wake Forest vs Texas A&M Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals day two defensive playmakers
The Cincinnati Bengals have already addressed their biggest need in the first round when they selected Ohio State center Billy Price. With the depth along the interior line position, could it be possible the Bengals draft a safety in the second round? Cincinnati needs a playmaker on the backend of the defense if they are going to become more aggressive in 2018 and there are still versatile and great playmakers in the second round.

Bengals fan Meyer gives Price a Who-Dey
Urban Meyer is on the treadmill Friday running back in time for you. Meyer, Ohio State’s high-energy head coach, is ticking off the names of the linebackers from the ‘70s from the Bengals teams he loved as a kid. Bill Bergey. Al Beauchamp. No. 51? Right. Kenny Avery wore 51.

Defensive move: Bengals get safety, linebacker, end on Day 2
Looking for more big plays out of their safeties, the Bengals drafted one who learned to track balls in the air while playing center field on high school fields in neighboring Indiana. Jessie Bates III even hit a few home runs, too.

Bengals select Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates
The Cincinnati Bengals have been trying to build an elite group in the secondary over the last few years. Drafting cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard, and William Jackson III over the years which is finally looking to come into play in 2018. Dennard and Jackson both had breakout seasons in 2017 while Kirkpatrick battled injuries most of the season but will be returning healthy in 2018.

Bengals Draft Rd 1 News Conference Transcript
The three of us are very excited, and I know the building is very excited to add Billy Price to the football team. Just our time spent with him in Indianapolis, being up there in Columbus with him and when he was here, you just get the feel of a guy that you want to have on your football team. You like to have 53 guys like that with his intensity, his football intellect, and just his approach to the game. So we’re really excited to add him to the football team.

Third-round ghlace: Hubbard stays home
"Sam jumps off the film with his passion and how hard he plays. Every play from start to finish. That makes a difference to me and it makes a different to him. The first thing he said to me on the telephone was, 'Coach, I'm going to give you everything that I've got.' That's all he knows." Defensive line coach Jacob Burney

Second-round glance: Bengals go safety
"I see him as a free safety candidate for us. I think the guys got really good ball skills. He's got a good football IQ in the pass game. I think he brings a little different skill set in the back end for us and I think he has abillity to move down on slots and cover slots. ... If you want to stay in some base defense, we've got a guy that can help us stay in base defense and cover slots." Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.

Bengals defense goes to town in third with pass rusher Hubbard, LB Jefferson
The Bengals defense went to town with their back-to-back picks in the third round Friday night when they grabbed hometown hero Sam Hubbard with the 77th pick and followed it up taking fleet Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson at No. 78.

Bengals trade down in second picks off safety Bates
The Bengals were able to get their coverage safety despite trading down from No. 46 to No. 54 in a trade with the Chiefs that also marked only their fifth trade ever at moving up in the draft. The second part of the trade consisted of the Bengals moving up from the last pick in the third round to No. 78 to pair with the pick they already had at 77. It’s the first time since they got wide receiver Marvin Jones and safety George Iloka with the last two picks in the 2012 fifth round that they have back-to-back picks.

Comfortable Price settles in
That’s the number Price wore all through high school in northeast Ohio and later through a school-record 55 straight starts at Ohio State before the Bengals made him their starting center in Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft. But as the first player ever drafted by Bengals founder Paul Brown 50 years ago when Brown did the very Midwest thing and famously pronounced you can’t start the game until the ball is snapped, No. 54 went to Tennessee center Bob Johnson and no one has worn it since Johnson retired a decade later.

NFL Draft: Bengals select Moeller grad, continue to add to defen
With pick No. 54, Cincinnati selected safety Jessie Bates. Bates, listed at 6’1” and 200 pounds, ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and had six interceptions over the past two seasons at Wake Forest. With pick No. 77, the Bengals took Sam Hubbard, a DE from Ohio State. Hubbard is Moeller grad.

AFC North Bytes

Browns draft RB Nick Chubb with the No. 35 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft
If Browns running back Nick Chubb hadn't suffered a major knee injury in his sophomore season at Georgia, he would've given Saquon Barkley a run for his money as the top running back in this draft. Instead, the Browns snatched him up at No. 35 in the second round, two picks after they selected offensive lineman Austin Corbett out of Nevada to kick off day two.

James Washington NFL Draft 2018: Scouting Report for Pittsburgh Steelers Pick
James Washington's production at Oklahoma State and his performance at the Senior Bowl are hard to overlook. He may be limited to a WR2 role (or the slot), but his vertical-push ability and consistent hands make him a very attractive target in the late-second to early-third range.

Random Bytes

Jason Witten Reportedly Plans to Retire, Join ESPN's Monday Night Football Crew
Jason Witten is planning to retire after 15 years in the NFL, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, "to join ESPN's new Monday Night Football broadcast team as a lead analyst." Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the Dallas Cowboys were not expecting Witten to retire.

Mason Rudolph Takes Exception to Not Being Drafted with Top Tier of 2018 QBs
After five quarterbacks were selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, it was a long gap before the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Mason Rudolph with the 76th overall pick in Round 3. Unsurprisingly, the Oklahoma State product was not happy about the disrespect, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

NFL Draft 2018: Day 2 Grades for Every Pick
Round 1 of the 2018 NFL draft belonged to the quarterbacks. Rounds 2 and 3 belonged to running backs, receivers and tight ends. Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones, Courtland Sutton, Christian Kirk, James Washington, Dallas Goedert and many, many more were selected. It's a who's who of NCAA superstars, small-school wonders and potential sleepers.