Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
As the Pittsburgh Steelers begin their rookie minicamp today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac predicts first-round pick David DeCastro will be a Pro Bowl guard by 2013 but has lower expectations for second-round pick Mike Adams, at least for this season anyway.
Some have speculated that Adams will start immediately at left tackle for the Steelers. Dulac is not among them.
"Adams is not ready to be a starter in the NFL because he needs to get stronger," Dulac wrote. "He did only 19 reps in the 225-pound bench press at the combine, a low and disappointing number for an offensive lineman. Adams should be a starting tackle for a long time and, with DeCastro, automatically elevates the talent on the line. But not right now."
Hensley's slant: How the Steelers' offensive line will look this season depends on whether Adams is ready to start or not. If Adams needs another year before starting, Marcus Gilbert is the left tackle and Willie Colon is the one on the right. If Adams can start immediately, Gilbert goes back to the right side and Colon likely pushes guard Ramon Foster out of the lineup.
BENGALS: Secondary coach Mark Carrier reflected on the death of Junior Seau, who was a teammate at USC and was selected one pick ahead of Carrier in the 1990 draft. "He loved to play," Carrier told Cincinnati reporters, via the team's official website. "No matter where you went to play or who you were playing, you wanted him to be with you. You knew he had your back and that he was going to be the best athlete on the field. His love of the game was contagious." Hensley's slant: This isn't the first time that Carrier has had to deal with the suicide of a former teammate. In February 2011, Dave Duerson died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. Carrier said Duerson helped him get acclimated to the NFL as a rookie even though the Bears picked him to replace Duerson.
BROWNS: First-round pick Brandon Weeden believes he can be the starting quarterback this season for Cleveland. "I feel like I'm ready," Weeden told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I have a long way to go, but I feel like I've taken the right steps to get to where I can play at that level. If I'm asked to be the guy Day One, I'm going to do everything on my part to put our team in position to win games and score points. I'm really anxious to get going and the season will be here before you know it." Hensley's slant: The Browns haven't officially given the job to Weeden, but they didn't draft a 28-year-old quarterback in the first round to sit for a season. The only question at quarterback is whether Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace will be backing up Weeden this year.
RAVENS: Director of player personnel Eric DeCosta said DeCastro and Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower were not among the seven players the team would've traded up for in the first round. He also indicated Adams wasn't high on the Ravens' board either. “Mike Adams specifically was not a player of great interest to the Ravens because of off-field concerns,” DeCosta said on the team's official website. “We always consider moving up based on scout opinions and coaching evaluations. We didn’t see any tackles in this draft other than [USC left tackle Matt] Kalil that we would have considered moving up to take in the first round.” Hensley's slant: The Ravens will get an up-close look at the development of DeCastro and Adams, who are expected to be fixtures on Pittsburgh's offensive line for years. We'll see if Baltimore's opinion on those two players changes over the years. The Ravens won't be doing them any favors by lining up Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs across from them.