AFC North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

Browns GM Andrew Berry wouldn’t say if free-agent edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney was still on the team’s radar, but noted that DE Olivier Vernon is an integral part of the team.

“Olivier is a good football player, and we like having good football players on the roster,’’ Berry said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “He’s a talented defensive end. He is here and will continue to be here.”

Cabot notes that it is possible that if Clowney lowers his salary request of about $17 million a year, the Browns could be one of several teams still interested in signing him.

Ravens

The Ravens already had their eyes on LSU as a traditional factory for NFL talent. But their eventual first-round pick this year, LB Patrick Queen, wasn’t really on their radar as he was still behind other players in the rotation. But when Queen pushed into the starting lineup and improved leaps and bounds throughout the season, it got Baltimore excited about Queen’s potential at the next level. 

“With Patrick, you knew you were getting a great kid, and then when you watched the film, you saw the instincts and the speed and athleticism,” Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “You were like, ‘Wow, he’s a 20-year old kid who’s showing this right now. What would he have been next year if he would have been another year starter with 12 more, 14 more starts under his belt? How much more instinctive would he be?’ So, I think you project that out forward. He’s a smart kid, he works his butt off, he loves the game and he’s a great character kid. So, you say to yourself, ‘Man, as this guy gets experience in the NFL, he’s just going to get better and better.’ We really think he’s got a high ceiling and also a high floor. So, we’re fired up to see what comes of him.”

  • According to Fox Sports 26’s Mark Berman, the Ravens are one of the teams that have expressed interest in free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney.

Steelers

Steelers’ second-year ILB Devin Bush said not being able to have OTAs has “affected a lot” with his field preparation this offseason and is “trying to stay active” at home. 

“It’s affected a lot,” Bush said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Without OTAs, just getting back on the field and get back in the groove, that was stopped. I’m just trying to stay active, stay in the playbook, stay in the film room, and don’t beat yourself up too hard on workouts because you still got a long season to go. I’ve just been staying active and staying on top of my stuff, and when that time comes I’ll be ready.”

Bush feels his 800 snaps played last season will help him prepare for his second year in the league. 

“I don’t think it’s a good or bad thing,” Bush said. “Eight hundred reps can be more of a bad thing because that’s just saying we’re not really that good of an offense. With 800, it doesn’t bother me too much, nor do I think it’s a big load. I was able to handle it last year so I kind of got an idea what I’m stepping into.”

Bush added that he is confident he’ll be able to effectively pair with ILB Vince Williams.

“I have no doubt me and Vince can go out there and control the defense,” Bush said. “If it comes down to me and Vince taking all the reps, I don’t think you have a problem doing it.”

  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin mentioned that fourth-round RB Anthony McFarland has a “natural niche” in their system, while sixth-round S Antoine Brooks is a player who generates “energy” on the field. (Mark Kaboly)
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