AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


The Bengals were thrilled to be able to land S Daxton Hill at the end of the first round. They see him as a potential starter at both safety spots and nickel corner, which is huge for how pass-heavy the NFL has become. Hill even has the athleticism to play outside corner in a pinch. 

“I think he’s going to be really good at all three spots if that’s where you want to use him,” Bengals director of pro scouting Steve Radicevic said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “He’s got the size, speed, arm length to play outside at corner. Man-cover skills for slot and tight end-type players and range to play free safety. I think he can excel at all three spots.”

Things didn’t go as well for the Bengals in the second round, as their board was being picked clean. That compelled de facto GM Duke Tobin to do something he hates to do: trade up. They felt CB Cameron Taylor-Britt was worth surrendering a chance at another player later on. 

“Not my style,” Tobin said. “I like those picks. I feel so comfortable that our guys and the way we got our board ranked, we can find guys in any round. And you are giving up a chance on a Marv Jones or T.J. Houshmandzadeh or a Geno Atkins. Guys that can really help you. Not that you always get that but you are giving up the opportunity for that. It’s something I cringe about. But the situations dictate action. We felt like the situation this year dictated a little action on our part.”


The Ravens’ strategy of leaning toward the best player available over need has its benefits, but there is collateral damage in terms of how it impacts players on the roster. In this case, the selection of first-round S Kyle Hamilton means Chuck Clark, who’s been a veteran leader and starter for the bulk of the past three seasons, faces a demotion. A trade is a possibility but Ravens HC John Harbaugh said his preference is to figure out how to make things work with Clark. 

“The idea is to have as many good players as you can have and have them in the right spots and the right roles,” Harbaugh said via Clifton Brown of the team’s website. “I love the fact that we have very versatile players in the backend and at safety. So, to me, Chuck is a big part of this team, and I’m planning on Chuck being here. I’m not going to worry about all the other stuff. It’s part of pro football, I understand it. But I love Chuck Clark, I love the way he plays, and I’m very happy that he’s a Raven.”


  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly writes he was “a little surprised” by the Steelers’ selection of first-round QB Kenny Pickett and thinks he has a similar playing style to QB Mitch Trubisky
  • Kaboly believes Pickett will be the Steelers’ starter after being drafted with the No. 20 overall pick. 
  • As for Steelers WR Diontae Johnson entering the final year of his contract, Kaboly points out that Pittsburgh has never been a team that overpays for wide receivers. In the end, Kaboly expects Johnson to sign elsewhere as a free agent in 2023. 
  • Now that the 2022 NFL Draft is completed, Kaboly could see the Steelers targeting a free-agent veteran outside linebacker in order to add depth behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith
  • Kaboly also wouldn’t be shocked if the Steelers sign another backup running back.
  • Jeremy Fowler of ESPN notes that the Steelers gave QB Mitchell Trubisky a notice that they planned on drafting QB Kenny Pickett with the No. 20 overall pick: “But I was told that he even knew that Kenny Pickett was a strong possibility going into this. If he was there at number 20, they might take him. He was prepared for this.” (Steelers Wire)

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