AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. notes Bengals UDFA CB Allan George has made a compelling case to make the final roster, especially because Cincinnati’s depth is a little thin there at the moment. 
  • However, Dehner adds what the Bengals probably need to do is add some help via claim or trade during roster cuts to allow them to develop George and not play him before he’s ready. 
  • Dehner points out there was no rotation at left guard during joint practices with the Rams between fourth-round G Cordell Volson and G Jackson Carman, indicating Volson won the job. 


  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec thinks there’s a good chance the Ravens keep RB Justice Hill for early in the season as they wait for their other backs to get to full health. However, Hill is behind veteran Mike Davis and sixth-rounder Tyler Badie at this point.  
  • Zrebiec points out the Ravens could keep just five receivers. They’ve talked about trying to diversify the group, which could help 6-4 UDFA WR Shemar Bridges, but Zrebiec thinks 2021 fourth-round WR Tylan Wallace still has the edge for the last spot. 
  • The Ravens aren’t scheduled to get any compensatory picks in 2023, so Zrebiec says they could try to make up for that by trading some of their reserve offensive linemen. He specifically mentions C Trystan Colon or one of their guards like Ben Powers, Tyre Phillips or Ben Cleveland
  • With the injury to third-round DT Travis Jones, Zrebiec writes it makes sense for the Ravens to make sure they keep DL Isaiah Mack around, as he could draw interest on waivers. 
  • Zrebiec is doubtful Ravens OLB Tyus Bowser is ready for the start of the season, as he hasn’t practiced yet. He expects the Ravens to make an outside addition at edge rusher, potentially someone like Jason Pierre-Paul or Trey Flowers.
  • At inside linebacker, Zrebiec thinks the Ravens would prefer to keep both Kristian Welch and UDFA Josh Ross. Welch has struggled on defense but he’s a key special teamer, which Zrebiec thinks could give him the edge over Ross if the Ravens have to pick just one. 
  • Baltimore historically has preferred to go heavy at defensive back, so Zrebiec has them keeping 11 players with the final spot a tossup between S Tony Jefferson and CB Kevon Seymour. He thinks they’ll try to move S Ar’Darius Washington to the practice squad, as he’s missed most of camp with a foot injury. 
  • PFN’s Mike Kaye lists the Ravens as a potential trade fit for Jets WR Denzel Mims, although he points out the public trade request from Mims’ agent might actually hurt his client’s market. 
  • Ravens DB Chuck Clark participated in voluntary practices because he didn’t want someone taking his starting role: “Yeah, I did ask: ‘Can I get out of here?’ That didn’t happen. I wasn’t going to give away from spot. If I’m not going to be a starter, it’s going to have to be taken from me.” (Jamison Hensley)


Steelers QBs coach Mike Sullivan said that team has been pleased with first-round QB Kenny Pickett‘s development so far this offseason. 

“Kenny is progressing in a way that we are pleased with,” Sullivan said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “Every rookie, until he gets out there in a real game — it was real football, but preseason real football is different, just like postseason football is different — until one is in that situation, you never truly know. Knowing everything that he has done at this point, we are confident in him, but you never know until he is out there for real.”

Sullivan points out that Pickett has not been overwhelmed by the NFL and is showing poise in the pocket. 

“The thing that stood out with Kenny from the games is that it hasn’t been too big for him,” Sullivan said. “He has gone in and performed very well and not been overwhelmed by the circumstances and the situations and the pressure. Secondly, he has shown a knack, particularly in this second game, to have poise and anticipation. He made some throws with defenders right up in his face. He is seeing better, and what I mean by that is he will come off on the sidelines and have a very good recollection of what happened and what he saw and why he did what he did.”

Sullivan said he evaluates quarterbacks by observing how they do on third downs, two-minute situations and in the red zone. 

“The big areas where quarterbacks will be evaluated — third down, two-minute, red zone,” Sullivan said. “He has enjoyed great success in these two games, but there are going to be times that things aren’t going to work out like that, and the ball isn’t quite coming off your hand right. Issues with protections or coverages, whatever the issue it is being able to respond in the face of adversity.”

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