- The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. and Jay Morrison write that edge rusher is a sneaky need for the Bengals. They need depth behind starters Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson, and in a worst-case scenario where Hendrickson is a flop after signing a big free-agent deal, they would need another starter.
- The two add if the Bengals take Oregon LT Penei Sewell, Cincinnati could address pass rusher as high as Day 2. But if they take WR Ja’Marr Chase, it’s more likely they use both their second and third-round picks on the offensive line.
- Players to keep an eye on for the Bengals include Virginia OLB Charles Snowden, Iowa DE Chauncey Golston and Pittsburgh DE Patrick Jones, per Dehner and Morrison.
- The Athletic’s Mike Sando had an NFL general manager project the top 10 picks and he believes Cincinnati will take Chase: “(Joe) Burrow has been pushing for Ja’Marr Chase, they signed Riley Reiff, they drafted the tackle from Alabama (Jonah Williams), and it’s a deep tackle draft — you can get one in the second round. I say they take the wideout from LSU. He is a great player.”
New Browns DE Jadeveon Clowney believes he can be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Cleveland.
“With my potential and the way I play the game, if I can stay healthy, yeah, I shouldn’t be far away from being Defensive Player of the Year,’’ Clowney said, via Mary Kay Cabot. “I think I have that potential, and I can do it.”
Clowney also said his torn meniscus really impacted his production with the Titans last year, even before he was shut down for the last seven games.
“I’m glad I stopped when I did and it didn’t get worse,’’ he said. “I feel great now. I’m looking forward to proving to guys that I’m back healthy and I still can dominate in this league.’’
He also believes that injuries throughout his career have prevented him from reaching his potential.
“My career started off slow because I got hurt the first game of my career with a microfracture (knee surgery), probably the worst thing you could have in this game,’’ he said. “I don’t think everybody got to see the person they drafted yet. I’m working back towards that, but I’m well on my way now. I made three Pro Bowls, and it’s funny because I have not ever really been all the way healthy to the point where I felt like nothing was bothering me.’’
Clowney especially thinks playing with DE Myles Garrett will open it up for him to produce more.
“I’ve been getting double-teamed an awful lot in this league and in my career,’’ he said. “I’m looking forward to playing with somebody who’s dominant on the opposite side like a Myles Garrett, who can draw a double team. Maybe I can go one on one more (laughter).”
- Ian Rapoport reports that Clowney visited with the Browns twice before signing, the second being for a physical.
- Clowney’s one-year deal is worth up to $10 million and includes a $4.5 million signing bonus, $2.5 million guaranteed base salary, $1 million in per-game active roster bonuses and another $2 million in playing time and sacks incentives. His contract also includes four automatically voidable years. (Ian Rapoport)
- Given the Steelers’ draft history at wide receiver and how deep this class is, the Athletic’s Mark Kaboly expects Pittsburgh to draft a receiver at some point.
- He points out that while the top four of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and James Washington are rock solid, both Washington and Smith-Schuster are entering contract years and Johnson’s deal is up in 2022.
- According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor and Jeremy Fowler, Steelers’ recently re-signed LB Vince Williams will consider retirement after the 2021 season and starting his NFL coaching career.