AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers


  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. writes Bengals UDFA WR Kwame Lassiter has been impressing and has a shot to make the team but the key will be beating WR Trent Taylor for the punt return job. 
  • He adds fifth-round S Tycen Anderson has also been impressing with the second team opportunities while Jessie Bates remains out. 
  • Regarding Bengals CBs Tre Flowers and CB Eli Apple missing time in training camp, HC Zac Taylor said they have “no major injury concerns” and the team is being proactive with resting players who are experiencing any tightness. (Ben Baby)


  • Browns RT Jack Conklin said that his surgically repaired knee feels “stronger” than its been in a long time: “Everything’s found great. I feel stronger than I have in a long time.” (Scott Petrak)
  • Conklin, who is entering the final year of his contract, said he would love to re-sign with the team past this season. (Nate Ulrich)


One of the offseason priorities for the Ravens was improving their defensive line and getting more disruptive both in defending the run and rushing the quarterback. They brought back veteran DL Calais Campbell, reunited in free agency with former Ravens DT Michael Pierce and DL Brent Urban, and drafted DT Travis Jones in the third round. If former third-round DL Justin Madubuike takes a step forward in his development, the Ravens could be nasty. 

“Honestly, this is probably the most (interior) talented D-line I’ve been a part of, from top to bottom. There’s really no dropoff,” said Urban via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “You have young guys like Travis, even (Isaiah) Mack. There’s so many good young players. It also has a good balance of leadership as well. It’s like the perfect kind of balance. It’s a really talented group and one that kind of has all different shapes and sizes. We can kind of attack you however you want to play offense.”

Pierce returns to Baltimore after two years with the Vikings, although he played in only one year due to opting out of the 2020 pandemic season because he was high risk. He left with a reputation as a run-plugger but comes back with a more well-rounded game, as he actually set a career-high with three sacks in 2021 despite playing just eight games. 

Michael Pierce is a mountain of a man. The thing about him, when he puts his hands on you, you can’t help but feel him. Even when I’m doing individual drills, I feel like I’m fighting a bear,” Ravens DL coach Anthony Weaver said. “He’s certainly going to help our team. When you think of him, you think it’s just run defense, but the effect he has on the middle of the pocket and making that quarterback throw out of a well is going to help our edges, too.”

Pierce also has been impressed by what he’s seen out of the rookie Jones. 

“The dude is like 6-5. He’s about as big as I am and he can really, really fluidly move,” Pierce said. “I don’t know why he went in the third round, but you don’t really see too many of them folks. I don’t want to Chris Jones him, but he’s kind of got those similar moves. He’s just a special kid. Some of that stuff, you just cannot teach. Obviously, you work on your technique and stuff, but raw ability and just want to, he got it, for sure.”


Steelers HC Mike Tomlin was asked about first-round QB Kenny Pickett taking second-team reps over QB Mason Rudolph.

“There will be more of that. All of those guys are running in all groups, it’s just part of team development,” Tomlin said, via “You should not (read too much into it), but I’m sure you will.”

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