AFC Rumors: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals’ Director of Player Personnel Duke Tobin is expecting the player taken with their No. 5 overall pick to come in and contribute right away.

“Anybody we take with that fifth pick, the expectation is he’s going to come in and help us win immediately and play a big role. That’s the expectation,” Tobin said, via Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We’ll have a vision for that guy. It won’t be a long development process for the guy we take there. His expectation will be to come in, be a starter and be a producer for us.”

“We feel like we’re gonna get a premier player that can come in and really help us win immediately,” added Bengals’ HC Zac Taylor.

Browns

Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam said QB Baker Mayfielddeserves the fifth-year option” and they’ve been pleased with his growth. 

“I think we were all pleased to see the growth in Baker last year as a player and as a leader,” Haslam said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I think we all understand how important quarterback is in the NFL, so we were delighted to see that. Baker deserves the fifth-year option, and I think he and Andrew have both addressed the possibility of things after that, and we’ll leave that up to Andrew to decide when that happens. But we’re well pleased with where Baker is.”

Haslam added that he’s excited to see Mayfield take the next step with his progression under HC Kevin Stefanski, OC Alex Van Pelt, and offensive quality control coach Jonathan Decoster.

“If you think about it, we have our entire offense back,” Haslam said. “We have our entire coaching staff back, except one of our offensive quality control individuals who went to be a coach at Yale. So to have that type of continuity, which we strove to get here, on offense going into the second year with Kevin and Baker, we’re just really excited to see.”

  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says there are some rumblings the Browns could move up in the early 20s to go after a cornerback, perhaps Northwestern’s Greg Newsome

Ravens

  • CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones says no one believes the Ravens will actually make a pick with the first-rounder they got from the Chiefs at No. 31 and will instead trade out. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says there are some rumblings the Ravens could move up in the early 20s to go after a target. 

Steelers

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said the team is hoping OLB Alex Highsmith can help fill the gap created when OLB Bud Dupree signed in Tennessee. 

“In regards to the loss of Bud and the expectations and the depth and things at that position, the lynchpin to that entire discussion is the natural maturation of Alex Highsmith from Year 1 to Year 2,” Tomlin said, via Pro Football Talk. “You know the standard of expectations that we have for our young players moving from [Year] 1 to [Year] 2. He could be the poster boy for that. We need a significant rise in terms of all areas of play from him. But I also think it’s reasonable to expect it given what he’s been exposed to, given the quality young man that he is and his work ethic and the environment we intend to put him in. I think it’s reasonable to expect him to rise up and meet the challenges.”

  • Albert Breer reports some teams think the Steelers could look into trading up for a quarterback if one they like “undergoes a fairly significant slide.”
  • Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes both Alabama RB Najee Harris and Clemson RB Travis Etienne are in the Steelers’ top-24 players on their board. Dulac adds if Harris is there, he will be the pick. 

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