AFC Notes: McPhee, Hurns, Amaro, Mack

Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee is a player to watch in tonight’s third preseason game against the Redskins, says Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun: Healthy this year after having no surgeries this offseason — unlike previous years when he’s undergone groin and knee procedures — the Ravens’ outside linebacker has been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL this preseason with one sack and five quarterback hurries. McPhee appears to have recaptured his rookie form from 2011 when he finished second on the Ravens with six sacks.” Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jaymison Hensley points out that McPhee is in the final year of his rookie deal, meaning the Ravens should benefit from healthy, motivated player seeking a contract extension.

Here’s a roundup of more links from around the AFC:

  • T.J. Graham is the Bills’ top “bubble” player, says ESPN’s Mike Rodak: “With six receivers already considered locks for the 53-man roster, Graham might need an injury to make the cut. However, he can make a strong push for a job with another team with a good outing Saturday. Graham saw more time with the first-team offense as training camp progressed, and with Sammy Watkins not expected to play Saturday, Graham should have chances to catch passes from starting quarterback EJ Manuel. The Bills will need to make a decision on Graham shortly after Saturday’s game. Would they release him early and allow him time to catch on elsewhere? Or do they hold onto him and try to get him back on their practice squad, now that he is eligible under the NFL’s new rules?”
  • With Donald Stephenson facing a four-game suspension and Joe Mays injured, the competition for replacement snaps at right tackle and inside linebacker is something to watch in the Chiefs’ third preseason game, writes Terez Paylor in the KC Star.
  • The Broncos are in need of a punt returner following the torn ACL suffered by Jordan Norwood. Isaiah Burse will get the first chance to claim the role, according to an AP story.
  • The Jaguars used a pair of second-round picks on receivers, but undrafted free agent Allen Hurns has been the best rookie in camp, writes Hays Carlyon in the Florida Times-Union: “The question now isn’t if Hurns makes the 53-man roster. He’s a virtual lock, a difficult position for an undrafted rookie to work his way to after three games. . . Hurns has put himself in position to perhaps start opposite Cecil Shorts when the Jaguars open the regular season at Philadelphia on Sept. 7.”
  • Jace Amaro is impressing Rex Ryan. Speaking about the rookie tight end, Ryan told the New York Post’s Brian Costello, “I told you guys he reminds me of [Mike] Ditka the more I see him. The kid gets better and better and better. That’s the thing you love about this guy.” Amaro had four catches and a touchdown last night against the Giants.
  • Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack looked worthy of the No. 5 overall selection last night, according to Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury-News.
  • Raiders running back Kory Sheets (Achilles) is out for the season. Sheets broke the news himself via Twitter. As a result, Latavius Murray will begin the season as the team’s primary kick returner.
  • A pair of young veterans — Dontay Moch and Orson Charles — could be candidates for the Bengals’ practice squad, speculates ESPN’s Cole Harvey, who says “coaches have grown tired of the Charles experiment and are all-in on undrafted rookie free agent Ryan Hewitt.”
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