AFC North Stock Watch

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
11:30
AM ET
Let's see who's rising and who's falling in the AFC North now that training camps have started.

Falling

Mason
Mason
1. Baltimore Ravens receivers: Rookie second-round pick Torrey Smith would likely be the starter if Baltimore's season started today. That was not the plan when the offseason began. Baltimore made a calculated error by releasing veteran starter Derrick Mason. The Ravens believed they could get a better, more dynamic replacement. Instead, Baltimore struck out with Malcom Floyd, who would have been a great addition. The Ravens tried to get Mason back but it was too late. Mason joined Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. That leaves the Ravens with few options.

2. Cleveland Browns offense: Cleveland's offense has a lot of work to do. The unit did not look game-ready during my week-long visit to Browns camp. There were alignment errors on offense, plenty of drops and an overall lack of talent. Second-year quarterback Colt McCoy had his ups and downs, as well. Fortunately, the Browns have a month to get their new West Coast offense on track.

3. Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver: Sanders came to training camp with high hopes. His goal was to become Pittsburgh's next 1,000-yard receiver. But Sanders has missed most of camp because of a foot injury. Pittsburgh hasn't expressed concern publicly. But it's telling that the Steelers have shown significant interest in veteran receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress the past two weeks.

Rising

Woodley
Woodley
1. LaMarr Woodley, Steelers linebacker: A player's stock always goes up following a $61.5 million extension. Woodley received a huge raise after playing out the final year of his rookie contract. Woodley was arguably the NFL's best bargain in 2010. He made just $550,000 and registered 10 sacks for the reigning AFC champs. Pittsburgh did its part by rewarding Woodley for his patience.

2. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals receiver: Scouts told me before the draft that Green was the real deal. Early reports out of training camp back those claims. Green, the No. 4 overall pick, will replace six-time Pro Bowler Chad Ochocinco as Cincinnati's No. 1 receiver. Green is having a good camp so far. I'm looking forward to getting my first up-close look at Green this week.

3. Phil Taylor, Browns defensive tackle: Cleveland's first-round pick made his presence known during the first week of training camp. Taylor arrived four days late because of a contract dispute. But he was in shape and ready to play on the first-team defense. Taylor was hard to move at the point of attack and also showed the ability to get up the field. Taylor and fellow defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin could be a tough tandem in the middle of Cleveland's defense.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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