AFC Notes: Joe Burrow, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Joe Burrow

Bengals QB Joe Burrow said he is “very optimistic” about his recovery from a torn ACL and expects to play in Week 1 of the regular season. 

“I’m very optimistic about where I’m at and also where the team is at,” Burrow, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s official site. “Rehab is going very, very well and lifting is going very, very well. I’m in great shape. Legs feel good, knee feels good. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m expecting to be there on the first snap of 2021. I’m expecting to play game one. I expect to take part in practice. I’m feeling really good. I’m ahead of schedule.”

Burrow admits that he cannot throw on the move just yet, but is still “feeling good right now.” 

“I can’t roll out and throw yet, [but] it’s feeling good right now,” said Burrow. 

Burrow added that he was beginning to feel comfortable with the speed of the NFL prior to his season-ending injury. 

“In the NFL you see some crazy defenses you’ve never seen before, defenses teams shouldn’t be able to play but they play them,” Burrow said. “I was getting comfortable with my checks in those situations. Numbers advantage. Rotation. Checking back-side routes. Checking three-man concepts to the field. We were starting to roll. I got hurt in the Washington game and we were playing the No. 1 pass defense in the league and we had 200 yards at halftime throwing (actually 195 yards).”

Browns

  • Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com points out that the Browns were down to a little more than $10 million in cap space after signing DE Jadeveon Clowney which would have still covered their draft picks.
  • Cabot goes on to say that the release of DT Sheldon Richardson will likely facilitate any trades or extensions the team may want or need to make.
  • After the draft, Cabot thinks the Browns will pick up the fifth-year options of QB Baker Mayfield and CB Denzel Ward, and then decide whether or not to extend their contracts. There are also the deals of RB Nick Chubb and G Wyatt Teller to watch for, as both players have been strong for Cleveland and are entering a contract year.
  • Cabot also believes that the Browns will end up using Clowney on the interior of the defensive line at times, regardless of whether or not Richardson was still on the team, as letting go of Richardson was strictly a financial decision.
  • According to Cabot, Richardson and the Browns parted ways with the agreement that it could be temporary. Richardson could always end up coming back on a smaller deal.
  • As for the Browns defensive backfield, Cabot indicates that the plan is for the team to start John Johnson and Grant Delpit at the safety spots. Delpit seems to be doing well and rehab and Cabot mentions that studies show 78 percent of NFL players return from a ruptured Achilles’.
  • Injured CB Greedy Williams (shoulder) is also expected to return to a starting role, meaning new CB Troy Hill will likely serve as the nickel cornerback in most situations.
  • When it comes to the draft, Cabot doesn’t see GM Andrew Berry trading up, yet she thinks there is a possibility that he could move back depending on the situation. Cabot adds that the team does have two picks in both the third and fourth rounds.
  • According to Justin Melo, West Virginia DT Darius Stills met virtually with the Browns.

Ravens

Ravens HC John Harbaugh explained that the team will be looking for wide receivers that fit the team the Ravens want to be.

“We want winning football from our guys. It’s guys who fit what we do, certainly, but we want guys who can get open, who can make plays, that play hard,” Harbaugh said, via Pro Football Talk. “There are different aspects to different types of receivers, but in the end, we’ll find certain receivers in the draft who we like that fit us; fit our needs and fit how we play, fit our quarterback and fit our personality — as Eric said — our culture. We’ll find those guys, and we’ll be targeting those guys. We know who they are already. We’ve had the meetings, and we’ll be trying to get them.”

Steelers

  • NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein says not to count out running back for the Steelers in the first round. 
  • Zierlein explains that his dad used to coach for Pittsburgh and HC Mike Tomlin and knows how they build their board. He says it’s entirely possible that a running back is the best player on their board when the No. 24 pick rolls around. 
  • Zierlein lists Alabama RB Najee Harris, Clemson RB Travis Etienne and even North Carolina RB Javonte Williams as potential options. 

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