AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers


The Bengals had a big decision at the top of the draft, choosing between LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase and Oregon LT Penei Sewell with the No. 5 pick. Sewell would have filled a bigger need on the offensive line but Cincinnati ultimately decided landing a receiver that was one of the best prospects to come out of school in the last decade was too good to pass up. They think Chase can have a huge impact as well. 

“I think what you see around the league is that it’s hard to hold the ball,” Bengals OC Brian Callahan said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “That’s every team across the league. There’s nobody that sits back and drops back and hangs onto the ball for a long time, because those guys on the other side are freak shows … and when you get a chance to get guys who can win on the outside — and we feel really good about the guys we have that can go win matchups and catch balls — it helps when they win fast. You can dictate a little bit of a coverage structure, too, and you have some big plays and some explosiveness. Now all of a sudden you get soft boxes for the run game, and all these things fit together.”


  •’s Scott Petrak mentions Browns LB Mack Wilson, LB Sione Takitaki, WR JoJo Natson, S Sheldrick Redwine and OT Chris Hubbard could be pushed off the roster during training camp by the additions the Browns have made this offseason to those positions. 
  • Petrak expects the Browns to add another veteran corner at some point to provide insurance for Greedy Williams and to compete with 2020 UDFA CB A.J. Green for the No. 4 spot. 
  • Petrak thinks the Browns thought enough of Curtis Weaver as a potential fourth defensive end to not add another late-round pick to the position. 
  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski said they are interested in re-signing free-agent DT Sheldon Richardson and the defensive tackle has “kept an open dialogue” with GM Andrew Berry: “I’d definitely say he’s on our radar and I’m hopeful. I know Andrew and his agent have kept an open dialogue. Sheldon knows how I feel about him. Really good player. From our end, we’d be thrilled to bring him back.” (92.3 TheFan)


Ravens’ new OT Alejandro Villanueva said he is not concerned about converting from left to right tackle compared to understanding Baltimore’s playbook. 

“I think the transition’s more into the playbook of the Ravens than it is going to be from left tackle into right tackle because so many of the plays are so different. . . . This playbook is a lot more what I used to do in college,” Villanueva said, via the team’s official Twitter.It doesn’t matter if you put your right, left hand down. You’re probably going to be firing off the ball, get good angles. For me, that’s the transition I want to get back into. The left or right tackle is not as important because we’re hopefully not going to be throwing the ball 800 times a season.

  • Villanueva added that joining the Ravens wasn’t a difficult decision and feels motivated to play the Steelers twice a year: “It wasn’t really a tough decision. Everybody from top-bottom was pretty awesome. As advertised.” (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Villanueva mentioned that he’s eager to block for Lamar Jackson: “You want to do everything you can for him and continue to see the magic he displays.” (Aditi Kinkhabwala)
  • Villanueva said the Steelers told him shortly after the season they didn’t plan to re-sign him and he had a quiet free agency up until recently. (Zrebiec)
  • The Ravens invited undrafted Monmouth QB Kenji Bahar to their rookie minicamp. (Tom Pelssero)


Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster said he was more nervous during free agency than he was the day he got drafted.

“I would probably say free agency was more nerve wracking than draft day,” Smith-Schuster, via Pro Football Talk. “Everything this year did not play out to how I wanted it to be when I look back five, four years. It’s a lot different. It’s betting on myself, going with the team I’ve been with before, and going out trying to get paid again.”

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