AFC North: Demetirus Williams
The Baltimore Ravens deservedly have a reputation as one of the NFL's top drafting teams. But they also may be the league's worst at drafting wide receivers.
How bad is Baltimore's track record at the position?
Consider this: Since the beginning of the franchise in 1996, the Ravens have selected 16 wide receivers and none have had a 1,000-yard season in Baltimore. Only Brandon Stokley, a former fourth-round pick of the Ravens in 1999, had a 1,000-yard season in his career with the Indianapolis Colts in 2004.
For every draft success like linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, the Ravens also have busts at receiver like Travis Taylor and Mark Clayton. Receivers Yamon Figurs, Demetrius Williams, Devard Darling and Pat Johnson were all drafted by Baltimore with high hopes but flamed out. The most successful receivers in Baltimore have been veteran free agents such as Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin.
It's baffling how mightily Baltimore struggles drafting receivers, especially since the team is so good at finding talent at other positions. Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, one of the best in the business, has drafted Pro Bowlers at running back, tight end, linebacker, safety, cornerback and the offensive and defensive lines. Yet, somehow, Baltimore continues to strike out at receiver.
With the Ravens searching for a speedy deep threat to complement Mason and Boldin, can they finally hit a home run in this year's draft?
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday in the AFC North:
- Baltimore Ravens starting receiver Derrick Mason dislocated his finger and could miss Thursday's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.
Morning take: Mason could join fellow starter Mark Clayton (hamstring) on the sidelines against Washington. That would leave young receivers such as Demetrius Williams, Justin Harper and Marcus Smith to get a lot of quality reps.
- The starters for the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to get a couple of series Thursday in their preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Morning take: Teams use the exhibition season for different reasons. But for veteran club like Pittsburgh, this summer should be mostly about staying healthy.
- In his return following a season-ending elbow injury, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer also is expected to play one or two series Friday against the New Orleans Saints.
Morning take: It's probably best not to rush Palmer. The offensive line needs to step up and make sure their quarterback gets out of his first game back unscathed.
- The depth chart of the Cleveland Browns lists co-starters Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson at quarterback.
Morning take: Realizing the potential frenzy it would cause to give one quarterback the edge, coach Eric Mangini decided to list both as starters. Smart move.