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Bengals Bytes (5/1): Giovani Bernard welcomes newest running back Mark Walton

Mark Walton could very well replace Giovanni Bernard on the Bengals roster someday, but you’d never know that from the veteran’s welcome.

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Detroit Lions v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

What the Cincinnati Bengals accomplished with their 2018 NFL Draft
He’s already impressing the Queen City media, which comes as no surprise. I wasn’t familiar with Wake Forest safety Jessie Bates until the Bengals drafted him, so I’ll have to do some more digging on him, but I’ve been wanting them to find a play-making safety for many years. Scouting reports indicate he is just that.

Bengals 2018 Draft Class
His leadership, attitude, smarts … I think it’s the way (offensive line) coach Frank Pollack described it. He’s all business. That’s the guy you want making your calls.

Slants and screens: Original Gio welcomes Walton; Boling centers the pick
Eric Ball, the Bengals director of player relations, went to two of his go-to-guys Saturday night when he hosted a welcome dinner for three draft picks at The Precinct. They don’t come any classier than running back Giovani Bernard and right end Michael Johnson and so there’s no better way to give Jessie Bates III, Sam Hubbard, and Malik Jefferson a first impression of the locker room.

Mike steps to the mike
Michael Johnson hadn’t even read Sam Hubbard’s name yet and he was already teaching him how to be a pro. Johnson, an old third-round pick himself from back in the oughts, made the brief drive from the Dallas suburb of Highland Park to announce the Bengals’ two third-round picks last week as one of the club’s former NFL Man of the Year nominees.

Bengals vets on picks: If that affects you, you're too damn sensitive
“Obviously there’s two sides to this: There’s the side of you want to welcome everybody here, and there’s another side of ‘it’s a business,’ ” Bernard said. “So you try to be professional in both manners and that’s what I’m about. I’ve always been that kind of guy. Obviously, I’m inviting him here with open arms, but when he gets here, it’s time to roll. At the end of the day we’re all fighting for something and we’ve got to compete. It usually brings the best out of everybody.”

AFC North Bytes

Five takeaways from the Ravens’ 2018 NFL Draft class
The 2018 NFL Draft is now in the rear view mirror, and the Baltimore Ravens had an extremely interesting three days. On day one, they stole the show. First, they moved back twice, and eventually selected South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst. Several picks later, Baltimore moved back into the first-round in order to select Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Ed Bouchette: Drafting Mason Rudolph was easy for the Steelers. Now what?
The decision to draft quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round, as Kevin Colbert stated, was pretty easy since the Steelers had a first-round grade on him. The question now becomes, what will they do with him?

Random Bytes

The Biggest Flaw Every NFL Team Still Must Address After the Draft
Believe it or not, after 32 teams selected 256 players in the 2018 NFL draft, front offices still have holes to fill. Hence, a barrage of prospects signed as undrafted free agents. At times, teams' needs go by the wayside as coveted players fall. It's still the responsibility of general managers to address weaknesses from the previous season or add talent to shallow spots on their depth charts.

Report: Police Investigating Raiders' Donald Penn for Domestic Violence Incident
Police are investigating Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Donald Penn for an alleged domestic violence incident in which his wife says he slapped her buttocks and poured a drink over her head. TMZ Sports reported police in the Los Angeles area responded to a call Sunday, but Penn had already fled the scene when they arrived. The report says Penn was "at the house earlier and got handsy with his wife, at one point slapping her butt."

Tom Brady Pleads the 5th When Asked If He Feels Appreciated by Patriots
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady offered a somewhat puzzling response when asked whether he believes the team appreciates him and everything he has helped the organization achieve. NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran shared a clip of the exchange between Brady and Jim Gray at the Milken Institute Global Conference. Brady said "I plead the fifth" in response to the question posed by Gray

NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand After the 2018 NFL Draft?
In the NFL, the difference between being an 11-5 team and a 5-11 team can be just a handful of plays. As a player—and this was especially true for me as a quarterback—you realize just how close your team is to a championship opportunity when you go back and watch film after the season. That's the great thing about the NFL for both players and coaches. You always genuinely believe you're just a couple of pieces away. Thanks to free agency and the draft, those pieces can be had.