AFC North Notes: Shazier, Smith, Hunt, Wilder

Steelers first-rounder Ryan Shazier looks like the “real deal,” according to Mike Prisuta of “The Steelers knew Shazier was fast when they drafted him No. 1 from The Ohio State University. But since arriving on the South Side of Pittsburgh Shazier has gotten Maurkice Pouncey‘s attention with physicality in practice, stunned Bruce Gradkowski with leaping ability on the way to an interception and impressed Ben Roethlisberger as a potential defensive signal-caller someday. Shazier also has been running with the first-team defense since snap one of OTAs. He’ll still have to do it in pads this summer, but he created a consistent buzz this spring.”

Here’s a few more AFC North notes:

  • Ravens head coach John Harbaugh says veteran inside linebacker Daryl Smith, who re-signed for four years and $16MM, played at a high level last season, writes Garrett Downing on That means first-rounder C.J. Mosley and 2013 second-rounder Arthur Brown will compete for playing time next to Smith.
  • The Bengals have high expectations for 27-year-old, second-year Estonian defensive end Margus Hunt, writes Geoff Hobson on A 2013 second-round project, Hunt is a “freakish,” 6-8, 291-pounder who might be ready to contribute at left end.
  • Bengals running back James Wilder Jr., an undrafted free agent out of Florida State, claims he broke a team conditioning record, but he’s on the outside looking in for now, says ESPN’s Coley Harvey.
  • Browns All-Pro Joe Haden is the latest to (delicately) express concern over Johnny Manziel’s partying ways (radio interview with 850 AM here), but says nothing Manziel is doing away from the team facility is negatively affecting his work. Haden merely suggests, “Just try to have fun without the whole world knowing.”
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