AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers


  • Since the Bengals have drafted five linebackers in the past two seasons, the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. and Jay Morrison think it’s highly unlikely they take one this year. However, they think Purdue LB Derrick Barnes is an option given the Bengals drafted his teammate Markus Bailey in the seventh round last year. 
  • Dehner and Morrison write that it’s more likely the Bengals target players like Ohio State LB Tuf Borland or Northwestern LB Paddy Fisher as undrafted free agents. 
  • According to Justin Melo, Charleston WR Mike Strachan virtually met with the Bengals.
  • Melo also said Liberty LB Anthony Butler had a virtual meeting with the Bengals. 


  •’s Scott Petrak acknowledges that the Browns’ decision to release DT Sheldon Richardson makes a defensive tackle like Alabama’s Christian Barmore more of a possibility in the first round. 
  • Petrak doesn’t rule out Richardson coming back on a cheaper deal but his guess is another team will give him more given how weak this defensive tackle class is generally seen as. He estimates Cleveland would be willing to give Richardson a max of $5 million on a one-year deal. 
  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski says the hope is obviously that QB Baker Mayfield is more comfortable his second year in the system: “I hope it’s significantly better. He’s heard these plays over and over, and we’ve streamlined concepts. That’s what time together allows.” (Nate Ulrich)
  • Stefanski said Browns WR Odell Beckham, S Grant Delpit and CB Greedy Williams are all on track in their rehab from respective injuries. He didn’t have exact dates but he highlighted Williams in particular as someone getting good news. (Ulrich)
  • Stefanski acknowledged the cap played a role in their decision to release Richardson and that there’s hope they can bring him back: “There are salary cap restraints that are difficult. Sheldon played productive football for us, took great pride in getting to the playoffs for the first time.” (Petrak)


Ravens GM Eric DeCosta stood by his team’s wide receivers despite their struggles last season.

“We want to have good players at every position,” DeCosta said, via Pro Football Talk. “I’m aware that there’s some fan discontent with our wide receivers and our drafting and all that. In general, I look at our record and how we win games and how we played football and I’m proud of the team. . . . We’ve got some really good young receivers. It’s insulting to these guys when they hear we don’t have any receivers. It’s quite insulting. I’m insulted by it too, to be honest. I think we’ve got some guys who want to show everybody what they can do.”

  • According to Josina Anderson, free agent OT Alejandro Villanueva will visit the Ravens on Thursday.
  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that he gets the sense the Ravens would be more than willing to trade down and out of the first round. 
  • He notes their needs at receiver, edge rusher and interior offensive line don’t necessarily mesh with the draft board late in the first round and those positions are deep enough to address later. 
  • La Canfora highlights Alabama C Landon Dickerson as a player who makes a ton of sense for the Ravens who might be available later if they trade down. 
  • In his pre-draft press conference, DeCosta explained his philosophy and why Baltimore loves to trade back: “I look at the draft and in many ways, I’d have to say, it’s a luck-driven process. If you have more picks, you’re going to hit on more good players. That goes back to a philosophy that I think Ozzie (Newsome) started back in 1996. We started really going after comp picks. We tried to trade back as much as we could in any given round.” (Jeff Zrebiec)


  • Mark Kaboly of The Athletic has the Steelers selecting Oklahoma State OT Teven Jenkins in the first round of the draft, passing up on a running back such as Najee Harris, Travis Etienne or Javonte Williams.
  • He also thinks the team could pass on a running back again in round two by taking another offensive lineman such as Alabama C Landon Dickerson.
  • Kaboly notes that the Steelers could still get a running back, such as Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell in round three. He also likes the idea of the team taking a tight end like Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble in the fourth round.
  • Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline says the Steelers are sky-high on Harris and he would be a perfect fit for what Pittsburgh is looking for. 
  • Pauline adds Jenkins and Dickerson are in the conversation for Pittsburgh in the first round, though Dickerson’s injury history is a concern. 
  • Pauline highlights Wisconsin-Whitewater C Quinn Meinerz as a potential Steelers target at No. 55 overall in the second round. However, it’s unclear if Meinerz will last that long. 
  • Steelers LB Vince Williams‘ one-year deal is worth the minimum $1.075 million. (Kaboly)

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