Chat with James Walker
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch. He also covered the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Cavaliers at the Dispatch. Walker grew up in Hyattsville, Md., before attending Temple University, graduating in 2001 with a B.A. in communications and mass media. He resides in the Cleveland area.
Send your questions now and join Walker on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Hello everyone. It's been a busy weekend with the NFL draft. I'm here for the next hour, so let's get to some questions.
bill -cleveland , ohio
how do you think the browns did in the draft? also, why did they give up the number 5 pick and go down so low? was it a wise move?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
I think the Browns accomplished what they wanted to do, and that was acquire depth. There were no susperstars in this year's group. But I don't think Cleveland cares about that at this point. Eric Mangini wants smart, tough, solid players. Whether that works remains to be seen.
Do you think Kraig Urbik will start for the Steelers and if so who will he replace on their offensive line?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
Probably not. Pittsburgh can field the same o-line from the Super Bowl game and seem comfortable in doing so.
eric buffalo [via mobile]
i was amused to here m.oher mention the steelers at his first ratbird news conference. thanks mike!- steeler nation.
James Walker (4:05 PM)
This is a great rivalry, and Oher knows it. He just added a little juice to it. I have no problem with the rook wanting to help his team beat its biggest rival.
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Now he has to produce. That's the hard part.
With all the talk about trading Braylon Edwards to the NJ(sorry not NY)Giants..why didn't we see it go down? Also what do you think of the Alex Mack pick?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
Asking price on both sides were too far apart. Some reports stated it was a done deal, but those were premature. Mack is going to be a good player in this division.
Why Mack and not Oher in the 1st round for the Browns? Couldn't they have used the help on at RT?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Center was the bigger need for Cleveland, Hende. The Browns did a lot of things in free agency on the rest of the line.
Jake Klipp (Milwaukee, WI)
I'm a GB fan, and I don't think Cinci is getting enough credit for landing 3 1st round guys with their first 3 picks... I get that they've had problems in the past, but boy that was quite a haul! I'd have been very happy with their draft for us (not that I don't like our own...)...
James Walker (4:11 PM)
I disagree, Jake. The Bengals are getting a lot of credit for their draft. There are some risks, but the talent is immense.
Where do you think Larry Foote goes from here?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Well, if the Steelers can trade him he will go wherever Pittsburgh gets the most value. If Foote is released, my guess is he goes back home to Detroit.
James, do you see the Browns giving the new RB James Davis an actual chance at starting. Even if he isn't up for Rookie of the Year he will still be better than Lewis.
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Slow down, Dennis. Let's see the rook play in the pros or at least practice against elite competition before putting him in the Hall of Fame.
The Wolf (Cleveland)
Hey James! I think Mangini going after academic athletes is a brilliant move! What are your thoughts about him going after brains first?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
I'm in a wait-and-see mode with his approach. I see the vision and how it's being played out. But I want to see how this translates on the field against teams with superior talent like Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
So, Leroy hill is now a free agent was that kinda a knee jerk reaction? why not keep him and curry?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
Hill was on the books for a lot of money, and taking Aaron Curry is going to be expensive as well. I think this is a lesson for players to sign your franchise tender if you have it. That's a lot of money left on the table.
Jon (Vienna, VA)
James, do you see any teams trading for Larry Foote? I'd like to see my Steelers get some value for the departing Foote (other than the savings from his 2009 salary), but I just don't see why a team would trade for Foote, knowing that the Steelers want to cut him for cap room. Thanks.
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Good question, John. Usually when this situation plays out, a trade doesn't happen. Cincinnati is going through a similar thing with Levi Jones. Not saying it's impossible. But every teams knows now that he's going to be available very soon. Why give up draft picks?
So whats the scoop on Carson Palmers health? Would yo say he is 100% back to full health by now?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Carson Palmer says he's 100 percent, so I can only take him at his word. He's been throwing in camps on a pitch count to be safe.
Jonathan (Cleveland, Ohio)
Which of the Browns draft picks are projected to be starters and what can be expected with the addition of Ratliff to the quarterback situation?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
I'd say Alex Mack has the best chance. The rest will have to fight. One receiver could have a job open, of course. I think Cleveland's actions of taking two WRs in the second round shows the lack of confidence the team has in Donte Stallworth's situation.
Do you think Cincy's D is finally going to have a chance of achieving the level of menace that Marvin Lewis has wanted for it (in the mold of his former Baltimore defense)?
James Walker (4:29 PM)
The defense Lewis had in Baltimore was one of the greatest of all time. Cincinnati was No. 12 last year, so if it can get into the top 10, I think the Bengals will be happy.
Browns 2009 Depth Chart: Quinn, Ratliff, Graham Harrell.
James Walker (4:29 PM)
You're either missing a name, or you're telling me something.
Colin O'Keeffe (St. Pete FL)
Anyway the Bucs sneek out a NFC South title?
James Walker (4:31 PM)
You're going to love Kellen Winslow, Colin. He shows up ready to play every Sunday. I witnessed some great battles with Winslow vs. Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu.
Hey James please answer my question. What do you think about Lardarius Webb the 3rd round pick for the ravens. Draft day was the first time i heard his name.
James Walker (4:33 PM)
He's a decent college football player, just doesn't have a position in the pros. The Ravens feel they can coach him up into something. We will see.
The Raven (Baltimore)
How did the Ravens not address the WR position yet again? Heap isnt showing much promise either. Should I be worried?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I thought the Ravens should have drafted a receiver. But the draft doesn't always go as planned. Perhaps they feel confident in their depth.
Taking into consideration players received in trade as well as players drafted, how many starters did the Browns' original #5 first round pick yield?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
Three for this year: Elam, Coleman and Mack.
do you think the browns are gonna regret not takin rey with their first pick in the 2nd rnd. when they could have gotten robo with their next pick in the 2nd?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
According to the Browns, Rey Maualuga didn't "fit" what they were looking for. They didn't elaborate too much beyond that, but I take it as Cleveland is looking for players with football smarts. Rey has a rep around the league as being undisciplined on the field at times.
Eric (Cape Coral, FL)
any chance graham harrell latches onto the browns? why didn't he look at SF where there was a shakier qb situation and his good TTU buddy?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
I will get to watch him close up in camps over the next few weeks. Let me get back to you on this one.
Ray Keller Texas
James, Talk about Steelers-Ravens rivalry!! The fans really seem to love it.
James Walker (4:42 PM)
It's the most underrated rivalry in football. I wrote that last year.
Hey brother! I think the Browns had a smart draft. Was Mack the best center in the draft?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
I believed Mack was the best center in the draft. He went the highest so maybe that confirms it. But he has to prove it on the field.
Keith (Folsom, CA)
Hi James, keep up the good work. Where do last years highly scouted picks Beau Bell and Paul Hubbard stand with the browns this season? Will either get a shot to be backups or will they be relegated to the practice squad as they were 'guys' of the old regime?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
They will have to prove something to the new coaching staff. Bell and Hubbard didn't show much last year. So they will need big camps to become a part of the plan in Cleveland.
who cares about the steelers and revens, it the bengals year, who-dey
James Walker (4:46 PM)
Bengal fans coming out early.
jay CBUS Ohio
Steelers NE in AFC Championship game next year? When is Big ben going to be mentioned right along with peyton and brady?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Too early to tell on both accounts, Jay. Ben is a different type of quarterback than Manning an Brady. So the comparisons don't line up. But he is just as successful
Now that schedules are out and the draft is over, do you care to give us a preseason prediction on the order in the divison? Even though I'm a Bengals fan and I think the gap is closing, I still see them as third best, with the Steelers still on top. Your thoughts?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Not yet Henry. I'm going to all the camps this spring and summer. So based on what I see, I will have a more educated impression.
Ben - United Kingdom
After recovering from the late nights of watching the draft from the UK do you think the Bengals can contend with Pittsburgh and Baltimore this year after THAT draft, Carson and an active FA period??? Please answer my question for some international espn love!!!
James Walker (4:53 PM)
Ben, how is it going. You are a dedicated fan to watch the draft in the late nights overseas. I think the Bengals closed the talent gap, but I'm holding off right now on predicting wins and losses. I have to see how all of this is put together on the field.
Can you talk about the Bengals cutting the punters today, and giving the job to the rookie huber?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
They must really be high on the rookie, Mike. I thought at least one player would stay on board to compete.
Keith (Folsom, CA)
Any suitors for Braylon at this point?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
It's pretty quiet on the Braylon front Keith. I wouldn't rule anything out, but the New York Giants were probably his best opportunity to get traded.
Hey James, who steps up next year to be the #3 WR on the Steelers Depth Chart?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
I think the light is going to come on for Limas Sweed next year. He won't be asked to do much. If Sweed gets 30-35 catches from the No. 3 WR position, it's a good year.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Ok, everyone. Talk to you soon. Check back next week or send a question to the AFC North blog.