AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


Bengals HC Zac Taylor sees new TE Irv Smith Jr. filling the role that was left behind by TE Hayden Hurst, who signed with the Panthers this offseason. 

“There’s always competition in that room, but that’s the vision that we have for Irv — is to come in there and fill that role that Hayden had for us,” Taylor said in a press conference.

Taylor mentioned that the team added TE Devin Asiasi and also re-signed TE Drew Sample in order to keep the tight end group solid ahead of the draft.

“You feel good about the guys that are in that room right now,” Taylor said. “Again, that’s just one of those things that allow you to take the best players that are out there on the team that will help you win. But I feel really good about adding Irv. He’s a good weapon for us based on what he’s done so far. We liked him coming out of the draft and the years he spent in Minnesota. I think he fits what we’re looking for. Getting Drew back is important for us as well. He’s been so valuable for us. He got hurt in that second week and didn’t get a chance to play, but we like what he’s done over the years. And then we’ve got all those guys, Devin [Asiasi], and a bunch of other guys that have really done a nice job last year — whether it was on the practice squad or on the 53, so guys that we’re excited about their future also.”


The Ravens are expected to take at least one receiver in the draft at the end of the month, as the position has been a need for the team for a long time. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta didn’t dispute that but added he doesn’t feel like it’s any indication that an otherwise well-respected and high-functioning front office has a blind spot when it comes to that particular position. 

“I’ve been here 28 years. If it wasn’t receiver, you guys would be asking something else,” DeCosta said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “That’s the reality. It would be the offensive line, it would be the quarterback position, it would be the secondary. It’s just the nature of the beast. I’ve never seen a perfect team, yet, in the NFL. We aspire to it, but I haven’t seen that team. So, we’re always going to have a weakness, we’re always going to have a point of emphasis, we’re always going to have something we’re trying to fix. It’s like a house. You buy a house, you think, ‘Oh, great.’ Then the next year, something breaks. The next year, something needs to be replaced.”


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