Thursday, April 29, 2010
How I See It: AFC North Stock Watch
By James Walker
Baltimore Ravens' cornerback depth: Baltimore did not address its cornerback situation last week in the draft. The position remains one of the team's biggest question marks. The Ravens have cornerbacks. The problem is two of their top three players at the position, Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington, are coming off major knee surgeries. Will either cornerback be ready for training camp? Will both be healthy enough to play in Week 1? Could they struggle with the injuries throughout the season? It's a process Baltimore has to continue to monitor and eventually decide if it's a worthy investment to sign a veteran. The draft was very deep at cornerback, particularly in the first three rounds. But the Ravens addressed other needs like defensive line, outside linebacker and tight end. According to most draft experts, Baltimore had one of the league's better drafts. But pass defense remains one of the few questions for this otherwise stacked team across the board.
Cincinnati Bengals' passing game: Conscious of its struggles throwing the football at the end of last season, Cincinnati put on the full-court press to improve in that area this offseason. It started with the acquisition of free-agent receiver Antonio Bryant to replace Laveranues Coles. Then the Bengals capped it off with drafting two highly-touted prospects in tight end Jermaine Gresham and receiver Jordan Shipley. Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer should be very happy. He has struggled getting production in the middle of the field since the loss of receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Gresham and Shipley specialize in wreaking havoc over the middle and should open up the entire field for Palmer and No. 1 receiver Chad Ochocinco. In seven years, Palmer has never had a legitimate threat at tight end. But he does now.