Monday, April 27, 2009
Inside the AFC North: NFL draft
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
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| ||Rex Brown/Getty Images |
| ||How will Braylon Edwards respond to returning to Cleveland? |
Here are some post-draft notes and observations from within the division:
- The Cleveland Browns potentially have a situation on their hands with a returning Braylon Edwards. The former Pro Bowl receiver was reportedly included in heavy trade talks with the New York Giants. Eventually, talks broke down and nothing occurred this weekend. Now the Browns have to tread carefully to make sure Edwards feels wanted again. For the record it is unknown if Edwards is upset about the talks, and it's doubtful this would be a Jay Cutler-type situation. But it could require a little ego stroking for everyone to move on for the 2009 season.
- One of the most compelling competitions I'm looking forward to this summer will be in Baltimore. A rookie first-round pick (Michael Oher) will battle a grizzled veteran (Willie Anderson) for the Ravens' right-tackle spot. Baltimore got solid value in Oher at No. 23 and he should man the position for a long time. But Anderson had a decent season there as well and wants to hold the spot for at least one more year, setting up an intriguing position battle in training camp.
- Speaking of competition, there is officially a logjam at punter for the Cincinnati Bengals. The team drafted rookie punter Kevin Huber in the sixth round to go with free-agent signee Ryan Plackemeier and last year's punter Kyle Larson. This either means there will be a three-way competition this summer or one of these players will soon be released. Stay tuned.
- Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Max Starks is one of the most important players on Pittsburgh's roster right now, but it's not for reasons you'd expect. Cornerback Ike Taylor and receiver Hines Ward recently re-worked their contracts to free up cap space before the NFL draft. But Starks' $8.451 million salary for 2009, courtesy of the franchise tag, also is taking up significant space at the moment. It was expected that Pittsburgh would work out an extension with Starks, but to date that hasn't happened. With Pittsburgh bringing in nine draft picks over the weekend, the team will need to begin cutting players or reach a long-term extension with Starks to get everyone under contract. An educated guess is the Steelers would prefer the latter.