AFC North Notes: Browns, Burns, Ravens

Both of the Browns‘ first-round picks have endured a fair amount of scrutiny, with Baker Mayfield making a borderline-unthinkable rise during the pre-draft process and Bradley Chubb remaining on the board after No. 4. The Browns’ issues in coverage last season prompted the Denzel Ward pick. So did a belief third-year edge defender Emmanuel Ogbah can be a quality Myles Garrett sidekick. DC Gregg Williams is seeing Ogbah, a 2016 second-rounder who suffered a broken foot last season, validate the Browns’ thought process thus far this offseason.

I’m so excited to see how well (Ogbah’s) doing out here this year,” Williams said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “He’s night and day more relaxed and doing things more instinctively, not overthinking and not as afraid to make a mistake as he was last year because we moved him into a new position. Knock on wood, staying healthy, he’s going to really stand out this year.”

Here’s the latest from Cleveland and other AFC North cities.

  • A new addition to the Browns’ defensive end room expected to be a member of Cleveland’s defensive end rotation behind Garrett and Ogbah, UFA signee Chris Smith will likely be used as an interior pass rusher. “He can play inside; he can play outside; he brings a lot of energy to the room,” Browns defensive line coach Clyde Simmons said, via Cabot. “He’s got a high motor and I think it’s going to be great competition.” Smith joins third-round pick Chad Thomas and previous Browns draftees Carl Nassib and Nate Orchard. Though, Smith is pretty much a roster lock since he signed a three-year, $14MM contract that would cost the Browns to shed this year. So, Nassib and Orchard could be vying for one spot.
  • Other than Ryan Shazier, the Steelers have not possessed an open-and-shut case for exercising a fifth-year option in a while. They passed on Jarvis Jones‘ and picked up Bud Dupree‘s, doing so despite the 2015 first-rounder’s inconsistency. However, with Artie Burns‘ decision coming up in May, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sees another difficult call coming. Burns has not established himself as a surefire member of the Steelers’ core but is expected to be a starter again opposite Joe Haden. This season figures to be pivotal for the Miami product’s future.
  • The Ravens are moving Vince Mayle from tight end to wide receiver, Edward Lee of the Baltimore Sun notes. This comes as Baltimore’s wideout room looks more crowded with possible roster cogs than it did last season. With Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown borderline locks for the 53-man unit, the Ravens will have some choices to make at preseason’s end. A 2015 Browns pick, Mayle played in 16 games with the 2017 Ravens. Third-year backup Chris Moore may not see much receiver time, per Lee, who adds fourth- and fifth-round rookies Jaleel Scott (New Mexico State) and Jordan Lasley (UCLA) aren’t locks to make the roster. Though, the Ravens will surely give them every opportunity to do so and it’s a fairly safe bet the rookies will be on the Week 1 roster. The Ravens’ wideouts averaged a league-low 8.9 yards per catch last season.
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One comment on “AFC North Notes: Browns, Burns, Ravens

  1. afsooner02

    I don’t think Bakers rise was THAT unthinkable. Maybe if never saw a single game over the past 3 years or his combine performance. mixed with none of the other 3 top qbs were any good during the season (some had good combines but none of them played well in 2017) and its easy to see why baker went #1.

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