AFC North: Don Carey

All this week, the AFC North blog will take a look back at the 2009 draft for each team in the division. For Tuesday, we'll review the draft for the Cleveland Browns:

First round: Alex Mack, C

Second round: Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi, WRs, and David Veikune, LB

Fourth round: Kaluka Maiava, LB

Sixth round: Don Carey and Coye Francies, CBs

Seventh round: James Davis, RB

Thumbs up: The Browns traded down twice and came away with a Pro Bowl center in Mack, although it's debatable whether the team would be better shape now with Mark Sanchez or Josh Freeman (both quarterbacks were selected in the slots that the Browns traded out from). Maiava showed promise in starting six games last year, his best season with the Browns. Other than that, there's not much to smile about.

Thumbs down: You have to question the Browns' strategy when it comes to addressing the wide receiver position. Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt were available in the first round when the Browns selected Mack. Mike Wallace was sitting there in the third round. Instead, Cleveland went with Robiskie, who is no longer with the team, and Massaquoi, who is the No. 2 receiver by default. The other second-round pick, Veikune, is the defensive end for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Hensley's grade: D. All that's left from this draft is a quality center, a marginal starting receiver and an average backup linebacker. This draft, the first under the Eric Mangini regime, is among the reasons why the Browns are digging out of a talent hole.

Will Browns rookies miss camp?

July, 20, 2009
7/20/09
11:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The clock is ticking this week for the rookie class of the Cleveland Browns.

Let's Make A Deal
Here is the current contract status of Cleveland's 2009 draft picks:
Rd. Player Pos. Status
1 Alex Mack C Unsigned
2 Brian Robiskie WR Unsigned
2 Mohamed Massaquoi WR Unsigned
2 David Veikune LB Unsigned
4 Kaluka Maiava LB Signed, 4 years
6 Don Carey DB Signed, 4 years
6 Coye Francies DB Signed, 4 years
6 James Davis RB Signed, 4 years
*Rookies report to training camp on Friday.

New head coach Eric Mangini wants to work with his first-year players as soon as possible. So Cleveland's rookies will be among the first groups called to report to training camp this Friday.

The problem is, as of Monday, the Browns still have four first-day picks who remain unsigned. This includes first-round center Alex Mack, second-round linebacker David Veikune and receivers Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi.

Will they all have deals in place by the end of the week?

Whether reporting to camp by July 24 counts as a rookie holdout is debatable. The full team is mandated to report on Aug. 1, which is often viewed as a firmer deadline.

But what is not debatable is Mangini, a stern disciplinarian, is ready to get to work and certainly doesn't want the business side getting in the way.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Here are the most interesting stories Thursday in the AFC North:

  • The deadline for removing the franchise tag came and went without Cincinnati Bengals kicker Shayne Graham getting a long-term deal, writes Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.

Morning take: No surprise here. The Bengals have used the franchise tag three years in a row with Justin Smith, Stacy Andrews and now Graham and failed every time to reach an extension.

Morning take: The Browns are starting to reel them in. But there is some early speculation that the team may struggle to get all four first-day picks signed by the rookie report date of July 24.

Morning take: The last time, in 2006, they couldn't. But I get the sense this Steeler team is smarter and more motivated to avoid past mistakes.

  • Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun believes the Ravens made a wise investment in Pro Bowl defensive end/linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Morning take: The Ravens continue their trend of investing the most money on the defensive side of the football, which is the best way to thrive in the AFC North.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Here are the most interesting stories Wednesday in the AFC North:

  • Former Pittsburgh Steelers and current New York Jets guard Alan Faneca tells Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review that he has no hard feelings about his former team.

Morning take: Most players know the drill by now in Pittsburgh. Minus a few exceptions, the Steelers do not give out large contracts to players over 30, and Faneca was part of that trend.

  • Pete Prisco of CBS Sports believes the Cincinnati Bengals are playoff bound.

Morning take: It's hard to tell if the Bengals are playoff sleepers or playoff favorites with the amount of media jumping on the bandwagon these days.

  • Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun writes an open letter to recently retired receiver Derrick Mason.

Morning take: Schmuck thinks Mason should rethink his retirement. There is some feeling in Baltimore that Mason could change his mind. But Mason telling ESPN this week that he's "99 percent" sure doesn't leave much room for a change of heart.

  • The Cleveland Browns agreed to a four-year deal with rookie cornerback Don Carey.

Morning take: Cleveland's rookies are among the first to report to training camp on July 24. With four unsigned first-day picks, the Browns need to work fast.

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms on a four-year contract with rookie cornerback Don Carey Tuesday, the AFC North blog has learned.

Carey, who was taken in the sixth round, was a four-year starter for Norfolk State. He recorded 10 interceptions in 44 career games.

Cleveland's rookies will report to training camp on July 24. The veterans will report on July 31 and begin practicing Aug. 1.

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