- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Browns backup quarterback Seneca Wallace said he is willing to mentor first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden a year removed from indicating that he wouldn't do the same for Colt McCoy.
"I know my job going into my 10th season of being in this offense is to prepare Brandon Weeden to get him right and make sure he's ready to go for Day 1," Wallace told a local Cleveland radio station, via the Plain Dealer. "This is a different beast. This is a first-rounder that we drafted, 22nd overall and from a business standpoint you know and everybody else knows and outsiders know that this kid's got to play. My job as a veteran guy is to make sure he's ready to play.''
Wallace said his comments last year that he's "not a mentor'' were specific to the situation he was in. In 2011, he was competing for the job against McCoy, a third-round quarterback.
"Going into 2012 now, with Brandon Weeden coming in, he's a first-round draft pick," Wallace said. "We all know the business side of it and you're going to see that guy play if it's week one or week seven, he's going to be playing.''
Hensley's slant: This comes across as Wallace trying to do everything he can to stay on the team. I still believe the Browns' best option at backup is to keep McCoy. He has the right attitude to be a backup, and the Browns just invested a full season of starts in him last year.
BENGALS: Quarterback Andy Dalton has already reached out to two of his new targets, tight end Orson Charles and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. Charles wanted to get on a plane after he was drafted Saturday morning to throw with Dalton, but has to wait until the May 11-13 rookie minicamp. "He wanted to know, 'What routes do I need to be working on?' He's definitely trying to do all the right things," Dalton told the team's official website. "I'm happy to see it. Hopefully he'll pick it up quick and help us out." Hensley's slant: Sanu should be in the mix for the wide-open race for the team's No. 2 wide receiver spot. Jordan Shipley is probably the favorite if he recovers from knee surgery in time. Sanu, fifth-round pick, Marvin Jones, Andrew Hawkins, Brandon Tate and Armon Binns will also contend for that job.
RAVENS: Director of player personnel Eric DeCosta revealed some interesting pieces of information in an online chat on the team's website: linebacker Courtney Upshaw was among the team's top-20 rated players, undrafted linebacker Vontaze Burfict drew interest from the Ravens before he signed with the Bengals and center Gino Gradkowski was his favorite pick. "He was a sleeper player for us who was a consensus favorite amongst the scouts and coaches," DeCosta said about Gradkowski. "I think he's smart and tough guy, physical, very good athlete." Hensley's slant: Gradkowski might have to step up as the team's starting center by next season. Matt Birk, who is expected to mentor Gradkowski, turns 36 at the end of July.
STEELERS: Sean Spence will move to inside linebacker for the Steelers (backing up Lawrence Timmons) after playing outside linebacker at Miami in 39 of 40 starts, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh believes his speed and athleticism more than make up for his lack of height (5-foot-11). "A lot of stuff today is misdirection and trying to fool you or outnumber you one way and then give you a different look coming back the other way," linebackers coach Keith Butler said. "A lot of that requires the ability to read from the linebackers nowadays, not so much to get down and stuff a hole. Sometimes you have to do it on the goal line when you have to take on a big running back, but we're taking on Ray Rice, we're not taking on Jerome Bettis anymore." Hensley's slant: Spence is a four-year starter who has an excellent work ethic. He might not have the strength to become a starting linebacker, but he has the makings of being a core special-teams player.
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:Browns backup quarterback Seneca Wallace said he is willing to mentor first-round draft pick Brandon Weeden a year removed from indicating that he wouldn't do the same for Colt McCoy.