AFC North: rookies

Here are the most interesting stories Thursday in the AFC North:
  • Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says tailback Rashard Mendenhall should have thought twice about revealing his thoughts via Twitter on the death of Osama bin Laden and the events of 9/11.
Morning take: This is Tomlin's first public comments on the matter and he's in agreement with the majority. Mendenhall should have thought about the situation more in-depth before tweeting.
Morning take: Few players have a similar combination of size, power and athleticism. The Ravens are expected to make Ngata one of the NFL's highest-paid defenders and he is worth every penny.
Morning take: Mangini was very big on offseason workouts and minicamps during his tenure in Cleveland. So his take shouldn't be shocking to anyone.
Morning take: It may be a challenging position but one that has to excite Dalton. He's projected to be one of the few rookie starting quarterbacks in the NFL this season.
Everyone in our community is excited following the conclusion of the 2011 NFL draft.

On paper, all four teams did well. But we won't know for sure until these rookies hit the field.

With that said, here are some interesting comments from AFC North blog readers following the 2010 NFL draft.

Enjoy.

Cleveland Browns
  • "Somebody tell me why I should like this T.J. Ward pick? Don't get it. I know we need a safety, but who is this guy?"
  • "I liked Taylor Mays a lot better. He's much bigger and much faster. Probably the best all-around athlete in the draft. You can't teach size or speed, but you can teach a kid how to cover better and how to tackle better. Mays' ceiling is infinite, while Ward's is not."
  • "Love this pick. Montario Hardesty runs mean and nasty like Jamal Lewis did. Very solid back, better than Jahvid Best."
Pittsburgh Steelers
  • "I knew Kyle Wilson was the real deal. He jumps off the screen the way he attacks and plays downhill all the time. I'm still irked he's not gonna be wearing black and gold. Maurkice Pouncey will be good, I hope. Because if he isn't, I'll be ticked if Wilson is as good as advertised."
  • "I was just doing some research, and Jonathan Dwyer in the sixth round? What an unbelievable steal."
  • "Essentially by trading a fifth-round pick for Bryant McFadden and Arizona's sixth-rounder, which was used for Jonathan Dwyer, the Steelers traded Santonio Holmes for McFadden and Dwyer. I love it."
Cincinnati Bengals
  • "Jordan Shipley won't contribute immediately. I keep harping on this, but we're gonna see how much we really missed here with Eric Decker."
  • "I'll say this and then I have to go: Brandon Ghee will be a star for the Bengals."
  • "The Cincinnati Bengals now have the deepest receiving corps in the league by far."
  • "I don't know who your team is but they can't beat the Bengals' receiving corps. Maybe when they make cuts in training camp your team can pickup Bengals' scraps."
Baltimore Ravens
  • "Sergio Kindle will start in more Pro Bowls than Tim Tebow will start regular-season games."
  • "The only beef I have with the Browns' draft is passing on Sergio Kindle in favor of T.J. Ward. This one will come back to bite 'em. They could have taken Ward later on. Kindle is going to be a force and Ozzie Newsome will be dubbed a genius the way he has handled the draft over the years."
  • "Kindle and Terrell Suggs rushing from either side while Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody clog up the middle. It's gonna be nice."
  • "I think our division had the best draft of all divisions and the competition in our division will once again be great. The Ravens look like they will win the division and I am going to say the Browns will surprise some people this year. Depending on how long Ben Roethlisberger's suspension turns out to be either 4 or 6 games, Pitt might be third or maybe last in the division this year."

Remember last year?

Expected first-round contracts

May, 1, 2009
5/01/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Now that all 32 teams selected its rookies for the 2009 season, it's time to begin shifting more focus to the business side.

First-round contracts can be expensive but relatively easy to predict, because most deals are slotted by draft position with an incremental, annual raise.

With that in mind, here is approximately what AFC North first-rounders are scheduled to make, based on the 2008 class:

What's Your Rookie Worth?
Team Pick Player 2008 Pick Contract
Cincinnati No. 6 OT Andre Smith LB Vernon Gholston 5 years, $50M
Cleveland No. 21 C Alex Mack OT Sam Baker 5 years, $13M
Baltimore No. 23 OT Michael Oher RB Rashard Mendenhall 5 years, $12.55M
Pittsburgh No. 32 DL Evander Hood *S Kenny Phillips 5 years, $7.34M
*Phillips was the final pick, No. 31, in the first round because the New England Patriots were penalized a first-rounder for "Spygate" in 2008.

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