AFC North News Watch: Day 20


As we enter a fairly silent period of the league year between the Owners Meetings and the draft, there will not be a ton of newsworthy information to pass along, but as we get closer and closer to the draft, we should be starting to get a clearer picture of where teams are leaning when they are on the clock by tracking workouts and visits with prospective draftees.

The AFC North has had little movement over the course of the past few days, though not every team in the division has concluded their pre-draft free agency process, if certain coaches and reports are to be believed.

As for the draft, it appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers have scheduled visits with tight end prospect Cameron Clear and outside linebacker Shane Ray. The team has looked hard at both the tight end and outside linebacker classes this year, so it’s not surprising to see these names listed.

Ray in particular is expected to go in the first round of the draft, and most believe that he will be drafted ahead of where the Steelers are selecting this season, at the 22nd overall pick. Clear is more of a blocking tight end than a receiver.

While the Cincinnati Bengals are another team that appears by and large to be done with free agency, it is possible that we see them re-sign a couple of their own, mostly on offense. The majority of their free agents this season came on the offensive side of the ball, yet they re-signed more of their defensive free agents.

The Bengals are contemplating in which direction to go in terms of their backup quarterback position, but they may end up re-signing Jason Campbell to fill that role. Also a possibility to return are wide receiver Brandon Tate and running back Cedric Peerman, both of whom are primarily special teams players.

While many are increasingly expecting the Baltimore Ravens to go after a wide receiver early in the draft, possibly as early as the first round, head coach John Harbaugh has sought to temper that narrative, describing selecting receivers as a “crapshoot”.

The Ravens actually have a pretty spotty history of drafting wide receivers, so this isn’t particularly surprising. Their last decent receiver they drafted just signed elsewhere, and he was a second-rounder. Nevertheless, the team is reportedly expected to meet with DeVante Parker, one of the receivers expected to go in the first round.

The Cleveland Browns, meanwhile, are doing their due diligence on the draft front. They recently met with tackle La’el Collins in addition to holding a workout for cornerback Eric Rowe—even though they have two first-round cornerbacks and just signed a starter in free agency.

Somewhat interesting to note is that owner Jimmy Haslam has put his house in Tennessee up for sale. There was speculation earlier last week that Haslam may want to swap out the Browns for the Titans, though that the Titans were for sale was later denied.

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