AFC Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

Browns WRs coach Chad O’Shea said they have not decided on who is their No. 3 wide receiver. 

“The competition is still open,’’ said O’Shea, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s a very competitive situation on our roster. Nothing is set in stone and we have a lot of guys vying for it.’’

O’Shea said he is “extremely impressed” with second-year WR KhaDarel Hodge and mentioned that the receiver can play in “multiple roles.” 

I’m extremely impressed with him and I have a great deal of respect for how he plays,’’ O’Shea said. “He studies hard, he knows what to do and he’s very good mentally. He can function in multiple roles, and it’s important to add value to the team in several different ways.”

O’Shea added that Hodge is a “willing blocker” and is a “good example” for other players to follow. 

“He’s a good example for other players because of his dependability. I’m very fortunate to have him in our wide receiver room,” said O’Shea. 

  • Browns’ HC Kevin Stefanski said he was not ready to rule out C J.C. Tretter for Week 1 after his knee surgery and added that the team will make a decision when the time comes. (Scott Petrak)
  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski said he’s still “100 percent committed” to starting first-round OT Jedrick Wills Jr. at left tackle. (Mary Kay Cabot)

Ravens

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec says the competition between Ravens LBs Chris Board and Otaro Alaka for the fourth and potentially final linebacker spot on the roster has been intense. Baltimore could conceivably make room for both. 
  • Meanwhile, veteran LB L.J. Fort remains ahead of third-round LB Malik Harrison in the starting lineup at inside linebacker. 
  • Ravens CB Anthony Averett has locked up the fifth corner spot, per Zrebiec. 
  • Zrebiec notes OLB Tyus Bowser has looked strong in one-on-ones and appears ready for more snaps during the regular season in his contract year. 
  • Zrebiec mentions Ravens UDFA QB Tyler Huntley has closed the gap considerably between himself and QB Trace McSorley in the competition for the No. 3 job. 
  • Ravens third-round DT Justin Madubuike won’t start, but Zrebiec writes he’s earned a role in the rotation with his performance so far. 
  • Zrebiec points out the Ravens have been working FB/DT Patrick Ricard as a tight end and could potentially go with him instead of a third tight end on the final roster. 
  • While Ravens 2019 fourth-round RB Justice Hill has had a quiet training camp, Zrebiec still would be surprised if he didn’t make the team. Fellow 2019 fourth-round G Ben Powers also appears to be behind the pack on the interior offensive line. 

Steelers

Steelers’ CB Mike Hilton went undrafted but has proven to be one the best defensive backs on the team and could be in for a nice payday next year.

“Just getting into this situation is a blessing,” Hilton said, via Ray Fittipado of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Being undrafted and becoming one of the top players at my position and being able to produce over these last couple of years is a blessing I don’t take for granted. With the contract situation, I’m not really focused on it. I know what’s at the end of the tunnel. I just have to do what I can to provide for this team what it needs to win games. It’s just grind non-stop. I know that’s cliché. And I know a lot of athletes say that. But the effort you put in, it really shows in your play and results. I really feel like in these last few years I feel like I’ve been gaining a lot of momentum in knowing how to take care of my body, and it’s paying off on the field when I’m able to go out there and make plays.”

  • Steelers’ OL Stefen Wisniewski says that he will be working at both backup center and guard. (Brooke Pryor)
  • Steelers’ G David DeCastro left Friday’s scrimmage with an undisclosed injury after missing most padded practices with an undisclosed injury but began working his way back this week. Pittsburgh HC Mike Tomlin said he expected to have an update on DeCastro next week. (Pryor)
  • During the team scrimmage, Zach Banner lined up at right tackle while Wisniewski played right guard. Chukwuma Okorafor played at right tackle with the second-team offense. (Ray Fittipaldo)
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