AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Heading into the 2019 college football season, some observers thought LSU QB Joe Burrow had the chance to be a sleeper pick given the way he finished his junior year. However, no one foresaw Burrow’s meteoric rise to the locked-in, No. 1 overall pick after one of the best seasons of all time for a college quarterback. Even Burrow was shocked. He never lost confidence in his abilities, but after being overlooked coming out of high school and in college, he thought he’d have to work his way up the hard way again in the NFL. 

“Absolutely not,” Burrow said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “I knew that I was gonna play really well my senior year. And I was going into it thinking I was one of the best guys in the country. But I know what recruiting is, and I know how the draft is. It’s always interesting seeing where people go and seeing who ends up panning out. So I knew I had a chance to be a really good pro. But I didn’t think I could do anything to get myself up to the No. 1 pick in the draft. I expected to have the kind of season that I had. But I didn’t expect for it to propel me to the No. 1 pick. I thought I was gonna go third, fourth round.”

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King mentions Bengals QB Andy Dalton is a candidate to be traded during the draft. 
  • Per the Athletic’s Jay Morrison, safety isn’t a pressing need for the Bengals after signing Vonn Bell in free agency. However, they could add a late-round or undrafted free agent to the position for depth if Shawn Williams ends up playing more dime linebacker. 
  • According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Bengals have been doing work on receivers and are worth watching as a team who could make a move to get one. The Bengals have the No. 33 overall pick to work with.

Browns

  • Per BrownsZone.com’s Scott Petrak, Browns GM Andrew Berry said the team would take note of Louisville OT Mekhi Becton‘s flagged drug test: “We’ll take all information into consideration. But I’m not going to talk about any specifics.”
  • Regarding a potential trade-back scenario from No. 10, Berry said Cleveland is considering it: “I don’t know that it’s more or less than in previous years. We will have options.” (Mary Kay Cabot)
  • While Cleveland is frequently assigned an offensive tackle in mocks, Berry told reporters he won’t be “pigeonholed” into taking one position or chasing needs. (Petrak)
  • Berry continued the Browns’ public stance that a trade for WR Odell Beckham is not in the cards: “We really have addressed this several times. I don’t think anything else needs to be said at this point.” (Petrak)

Ravens

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King lists the Ravens as a potential landing spot for Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts.
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says trade talks for franchise-tagged players like Ravens LB Matt Judon are complicated because of the significant compensation required in the form of high draft picks and a new contract. 
  • According to Alabama DT Raekwon Davis, the 49ers, Packers, Dolphins, Ravens, and Eagles have been in the most contact with him.
  • Aaron Wilson reports that Oklahoma State CB A.J. Green has held video conferences with a number of teams including the Ravens.

Steelers

  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly writes that safety isn’t a pressing need for the Steelers. While S Terrell Edmunds stagnated in 2019, Pittsburgh did invest a first-round pick in him and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Kaboly says Edmunds could improve with a change in roles in 2020. 
  • NBC Sports’ Peter King lists the Steelers as a potential landing spot for Utah State QB Jordan Love.
  • Per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert says the team will be “prepared for any position” when asked about drafting a quarterback. He added, though, they are looking forward to having QB Ben Roethlisberger back.
  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin is content with not having a first-round pick this year: “I’m not fretting at all about not having a first (round) pick. That first pick is Minkah Fitzpatrick and we’ve already benefitted from his presence.” (Pryor)
  • Asked about potentially drafting a running back, Tomlin responded: “If we get an opportunity that can add a back to our current pool, then we’ll be excited about that. We have every intention of running the ball better in 2020 than we did in 2019, whether we add a back or not.” (Pryor)
  • However, Colbert pointed out that doesn’t necessarily mean the team is looking to move on from RB James Conner before the start of the season: “I’m not going in thinking we don’t have a starter capable runner because James Conner is.” (Pryor)
  • The Steelers have had video conferences with Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor and Temple LB Shaun Bradley. (Pryor)
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