Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Wake-up call: Ryan Tannehill to visit Browns
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill is one of the 30 players who will visit with the Browns before the draft, a league source told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Tannehill is "one of about five players" the Browns are considering with their No. 4 overall pick, the Plain Dealer reported. He is coming off foot surgery and didn't work out or run at the NFL combine last month.
The Browns will be represented at Tannehill's pro day on Thursday, but coach Pat Shurmur is uncertain whether he will attend it. Tannehill only made 19 starts at Texas A&M, which ran a West Coast offense similar to the Browns.
"Wherever he goes, he's going to have to come in and learn their system, and prove to the coaches that he's worthy of being the starter," Shurmur said Tuesday. "I think that's the case with [any] quarterback."
Hensley's slant: Shurmur said Tuesday that the Browns were "moving forward" with Colt McCoy as their quarterback, but he didn't rule out drafting a quarterback to compete with him. Still, I don't see the Browns using the No. 4 pick on Tannehill. He's more of a candidate if the Browns decide to trade down.
BENGALS: Free-agent outside linebacker Manny Lawson told teammates Tuesday night that he had agreed to terms to rejoin the Bengals, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Lawson, who is entering his seventh season, signed with the Bengals less than a week into training camp last year and started 15 games at outside linebacker. He finished fifth on the team in tackles with 78 along with 1.5 sacks, three passes defensed and seven tackles for loss. Hensley's slant: The Bengals tried to upgrade when they pursued Kamerion Wimbley, but keeping Lawson isn't a bad fallback option. Lawson had drawn interest recently on the free-agent market and had been talking to the Packers. He surprisingly played better against the run last season than the pass.
RAVENS: Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said the team has to upgrade the offensive line. The Ravens bring back four of their starters and have penciled in Jah Reid as their left guard. But none of their backups (players like Ramon Harewood, Justin Boren) have any NFL experience. Harbaugh promised that team officials will be "turning over every stone" to try to bolster the unit, but the Ravens don't have a lot of salary-cap space to make moves. "We still have a little bit of room," Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun. "Off the top of my head, my math says we've got a few dollars left so we can do something. If we need to do some things, we can be creative." Hensley's slant: If the Ravens don't take Wisconsin center-guard Peter Konz in the first round, look for the Ravens to pick up some lineman or two in the middle of the draft. They've done well with finding interior linemen like Edwin Mulitalo, Casey Rabach and Marshal Yanda in the third and fourth rounds.
STEELERS: Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and right tackle Willie Colon are on track to recover from last year's injuries but he is worried whether both players can remain healthy for long periods of time. Colon has missed all but one game each of the past two seasons with Achilles and arm injuries. Sanders has had several surgeries on his feet and a knee, including a postseason foot operation this year. "You can't anticipate it's going to stop," Tomlin said of Sanders, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The same could be said for Willie Colon." Hensley's slant: The Steelers are counting on Sanders and Colon to play important roles on the offense, and they don't have veteran safety nets for them at this point like last year. Sanders is expected to be the No. 3 wide receiver, and there's no Hines Ward or Jerricho Cotchery (who could re-sign) to step in if he gets hurt. And Colon is slated to start at right tackle, and there's no Max Starks (who is still recovering from ACL surgery) to bring back if Colon goes down early in the season.