AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens

     

Bengals

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King notes the drumbeat out of Cincinnati is that the Bengals are leaning toward LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase with the No. 5 overall pick. 
  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. and Jay Morrison add that at this point, all signs point to the Bengals drafting Chase, perhaps adding another receiver to bolster their depth on the third day of the draft. 
  • As for some other options for Cincinnati in the draft, Dehner and Morrison list North Texas WR Jaelon Darden, South Carolina WR Shi Smith and Louisville WR Tutu Atwell
  • The two write that based on how well WR Tee Higgins played last season, anything less than a 1,000-yard season from him in 2021 would be a disappointment and he has real 1,200-yard potential if QB Joe Burrow stays healthy. 
  • Dehner and Morrison mention that Bengals WR Auden Tate has some real fans on the coaching staff and there’s a plan for him in sub-packages as a big-bodied receiver. 

Browns

New Browns’ DE Jadeveon Clowney said he never really got comfortable with the Titans due to scheme fit and his nagging knee injury. He also knows he still has the ability to be an elite player in the NFL.

“I think it was a little bit of both,” Clowney told David Boclair of Sports Illustrated. “Early on it was the scheme, and then later on I think it was my knee. I just want to show I’m still an elite player. Prove I can still dominate… gonna see this season.”

Clowney went as far as to say that he has never been able to stay completely healthy and that if he was, there is no reason he could not be the Defensive Player of the Year in 2021.

“I’ve never been healthy all the way to the point where I feel like nothing is bothering me,” Clowney said. “If I can stay healthy and stay out there, I should be not far away from being defensive player of the year.”

Ravens

  • According to Jamison Hensley, even though the Ravens are scheduling free agent visits, they probably won’t sign anyone until after the draft.
  • Decosta said the team has 200 players on its draft board. (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Ravens GM Eric DeCosta specifically mentioned that they believe this year’s draft is deep with edge rushers. He also said that the coaches and front office are on the same page for deciding what outside linebackers fit the team. (Zrebiec)
  • Regarding a potential trade of OT Orlando Brown Jr, DeCosta mentioned that there are “a lot of moving parts” right now. (Hensley)
  • Decosta called the draft a “luck-driven process,” and believes more picks will give them more opportunities to hit on players. (Zrebiec)
  • DeCosta also said that there is a “sweet spot” for a number of picks to have in a draft. (Zrebiec)
  • According to Zrebiec, Ravens director of player personnel Jon Hortiz is high on both Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman and LSU WR Terrace Marshall: “Both talented guys who have some versatility. A little different in what they do best, but certainly two guys who we have our eye on.”
  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh said OL Bradley Bozeman is “in the conversation” to start at either left guard or center this year. (Hensley)
  • DeCosta said the team has begun contract extension talks with QB Lamar Jackson: “I’m confident that we’ll continue to discuss this, and at some point, hopefully we’ll have some good news for everybody.” (Zrebiec)
  • DeCosta also mentioned how re-signing Jackson would change how the front office approaches roster construction: “That’s a great problem to have. We aspire to have that type of problem.” (Zrebiec)
  • As for drafting wide receivers, DeCosta said they are looking for specific wide receivers that fit the team: “We’ll find certain WRs in the draft that fit us. We know who they are. We’ve had the meetings. And we’ll try and get them.” (Zrebiec)

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