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Joe Mixon heading into camp 12 pounds lighter than last year

The Bengals expect Joe Mixon to be their bell cow in the backfield in his second season and Mixon’s preparation for that role included cutting some of the weight he carried as a rookie.

Mixon played at 230 pounds last year, but is down to 218 pounds with training camp getting underway next week.

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After identifying Buckner, the focus shifted to who would align outside of him. (They call this position the Leo.) In Saleh’s scheme, that often means aligning on the weak side. There were a handful of role player defensive ends built to line up on the strong side. That left Armstead as the most natural selection to play the weak side. He was the next most athletic player of the group, and he too is physical and long, Saleh explains. Not ideal for the system that we have, but very functional in terms of first and second down.

These decisions were made before San Fran drafted Thomas, which is notable given how many people viewed Thomas as a true defensive end.

He rushed for 957 yards and scored nine touchdowns in nine games last season before entering the supplemental draft.

My first search led to controversial results: An NFL Films list of top 10 Patriots of all time with the former receiver Troy Brown at No. That seemed high to me. He’s not better than Wes Welker. Welker had five seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving and led the NFL in catches three times … but I digress. As for the NBA draft prospect…. Not much to get me excited in this clip. Lots of contested 8-foot shots. Seems like a tough kid whose game aligns more to reality than YouTube.

Happened upon a clip with sound bites from coach Josh Pastner and a teammate who praise Okogie’s high motor. Consistent effort and tenacious defense are detriments in this particular mock draft. Okogie seems like a perfectly nice player but his highlights are kind of lame. Although, he does have a nasty block of a Luke May shot. Come to think of it, most of these clips feature blocked shots of the North Carolina star.

Johnny Hekker, Cliff Avril bury hatchet over blindside hit

In a December game in Seattle against the Seahawks late in the 2015 season, then St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker decided it would be a good idea to hit Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril from the backside after punting the ball downfield.

Hekker came to immediately regret his decision as he cowered to the turf when Avril and Michael Bennett came after him on a later punt in the game.

Then the ref actually comes to our sideline and is like ‘hey, we talked to him’ or whatever and I’m like ‘ok, I’ve still got something for him next time they call safe punt again. So I had to jump at you. And then Mike (Bennett) finds out about it on the sideline and he’s like ‘what? what happened? the punter did it?’ So Mike was really going out for blood.

Hekker, who grew up in the Seattle suburb of Bothell, said he immediately had friends and family asking him what he was thinking.

Players outside the Rams will also likely have their eye on Cooks’ deal. The new money averages $16 million a year, which ties former Ram and current Chief Sammy Watkins for the fourth-biggest per-year average among wideouts. That’s more than Julio Jones is making under his current deal and probably won’t lessen his desire to rework it with three years still to run. Odell Beckham is also in the market for a new deal as he enters the final year of his current contract.

Zach Allen, DE, Boston College: Overshadowed by star teammate Harold Landry the last couple years, the 6’3, 285-pounder was one of only two defensive linemen in the country with 100 tackles in the 2017 season, and he led the Eagles with six sacks in his first year as a starter.

Deandre Baker, DB, Georgia: Size is an issue, but he’s played a lot of football at a blueblood program, starting the last two years and emerging in 2017 as an All-SEC player. He led the Bulldogs in pass breakups and was second on the team in interceptions, one of which came in the national title game against Alabama.

Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson: You’re going to hear a lot about the Clemson defensive line in the weeks to come, and Bryant may have been a first-rounder if he’d come out last year. As it is, he returns after posting a consensus All-America season in 2017, one in which he had 8.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for a loss.