AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • The Athletic’s Jay Morrison predicts Bengals DE Sam Hubbard will be the team’s breakout player in 2020 and blossom into an impact starter with potentially double-digit sacks. 

Ravens

  • According to the NFLPA, the Ravens are one of eight teams to have their Infectious Disease Emergency Response plan approved by both the NFL and NFLPA. The other 24 are submitted and are being reviewed. 
  • In a roundtable discussion by The Athletic, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was mentioned as someone who could succeed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as the most prominent and powerful of the group: “I think the obvious guy, if he wants that platform, is Steve Bisciotti with the Ravens. That’s a model franchise. They win. They have continuity. They aren’t making knee-jerk reactions, firing coaches right and left. They’re probably one of the three or four model franchises in the NFL today. Now, he’s a quiet guy, but if he wanted to have a voice and be a player in league matters, I think he’s the guy that has the greatest opportunity to do it.”

Steelers

  • ESPN ranked the Steelers No. 7 in their power rankings for the next three years, mainly because HC Mike Tomlin showed the team could remain competitive even without QB Ben Roethlisberger
  • However, the rest of the quarterbacks currently on the team don’t give the Steelers a shot to seriously contend if Roethlisberger goes down again. Finding a successor is Pittsburgh’s biggest long-term worry. 
  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers made some moves to bolster their depth at inside linebacker and safety.
  • While Pittsburgh’s starters are strong at those positions, the dropoff to LB Ulysees Gilbert, S Marcus Allen or S Jordan Dangerfield is steep. 
  • Bouchette reiterates he doesn’t expect Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster to return to the team in 2021, as typically Pittsburgh extends the players they want to keep before they play out their rookie deals. The same is true for LB Bud Dupree, who will play out 2020 on the franchise tag. 
  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly says the Steelers plan to move OT Matt Feiler back to left guard to start camp at least as they sort out their 2020 offensive line.
  • If neither Zach Banner nor Chukwuma Okorafor seizes the right tackle job, Feiler can swap back and veteran Stefen Wisniewski can start at guard. Fourth-round G Kevin Dotson could also be a factor at left guard, but Pittsburgh will take it slow with him. 
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