Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC North blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join James Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone. Let's get right to the festivities.
aloha James, with all the free agent signings in the Burgh, it looks like they're drafting a corner with the 18th pick? DL second pick?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Aloha, Nakaz. CB, OL and DL are the three areas Pittsburgh will address. I think it's really going to come down to the highest-rated player on its board, as long as its at one of those positions.
If the browns start out with a bunch of looses will homlgren take over
James Walker (4:04 PM)
Tammy, I feel pretty confident, from what I've heard, that Holmgren is open to coaching again at some point. If things go crazy next year, I wouldn't rule out a return to the sidelines in 2011. But I'm not sure he would want to take over a team if its struggling in the middle of the season.
The Ravens need a good TE for this year and as a replacement for Heap in the near future. What's your opinion of Tony Scheffler and what's his trade value?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Scheffler has a second-round tender with the Broncos. So on paper that is his trade value. The Broncos may be willing to deal for less, I'm not sure. But I think the draft has good options at tight end for teams like the Ravens, Browns and Bengals to consider.
Where will the browns be in 3 years
James Walker (4:07 PM)
In Cleveland...just kidding. I don't really like to make a lot of predictions beyond the season ahead. The NFL is a crazy league in that way, so I feel like it's a lot of wasted energy.
Chad (Luke AFB, AZ)
Whats your take on the Browns picking up Wallace? Do you really think he will give Quinn a fighting chance for the starting job?
James Walker (4:08 PM)
The trade tells me Holmgren is going to put in principles of his West Coast system. The team has yet to admit that publicly. As far as a QB competition, Holmgren is trying to avoid it this year. So Quinn will either be traded or the team will make a predetermined choice on who starts before training camp.
Johnny Utah (Hollywood, CA)
What up, J Dubbs? Hope you pick me cause I love your blog and I love seeing my name on ESPN! QB drama galore with my Brownies. With Seneca Wallace in town now, do you anticipate Holmgren signing Troy Smith as well?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
Thanks, Johnny U. Wallace and Smith are very similar. So I think Smith is out of the running. A team like Oakland, with new OC Hue Jackson, could be a possible landing spot for Smith.
Alex (Hammond, IN)
What are your views of Julius Peppers' signing with the Bears?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
Good player for a lot of money. But the Bears are still the third-best team in their division. (Assuming Favre returns.)
George T (Greeneville, TN)
Any way whatsoever that Eric Berry falls down to number 7 and plays for the Browns? Having watched him for 3 years, I would LOVE to see him put on the Brown and Orange and be a foundation for the rebuilding of our once proud franchise.
James Walker (4:14 PM)
If Berry is there, the Browns shouldn't think twice about taking him. I think he's one of the top 3-4 players in this draft. But because of need, Berry could slip out of the top 5.
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Plus, you now have Anquan Boldin in the division and possibly T.O. or someone else in Cincinnati. The Browns better get some help in the secondary.
Elliott (Tampa, FL)
Are the Steelers any better today than they were when the season ended as far as the recent signings are concerned?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
Their special teams definitely improved. Will Allen and Arnaz Battle will help in those areas. Antwaan Randle El may be able to still return punts. That's TBD. But I think these moves were made to give Pittsburgh a chance to win the third phase of the game.
Andy (Cincy, OH)
James, better fit for the Bengals: Bryant or Owens?
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Check out the AFC North blog tomorrow and I will tell you. We have that subject on tap Wednesday.
will the ravens make another big free agency or trade move.
James Walker (4:19 PM)
The Ravens are pretty restricted in free agency with the "Final Eight Plan." That's one reason why they pulled off a blockbuster trade to get Anquan Boldin. I think Derrick Mason is definitely a possibility. Baltimore drafts well, too, so that helps.
alex belser (indianapolis)
What are the chances the bengals will sign bryant and owens?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
Both? Not very high. If they want to spend that kind of money, a case can be made that Cincinnati should put all their change together and give it to Brandon Marshall.
Dan (Concord, NC)
with Batch a free agent, who's the front runner for big Ben's backup?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Dennis Dixon is the backup next year even if Charlie Batch was on the roster. Dixon won the team over with the pretty good performance under harsh circumstances in a loss to Baltimore.
kyle chormanski (south bend)
Which team do you get the most questions on in the AFC North?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
It depends on the time of year. In season, I would say Steelers, then Ravens. Offseason, probably the Browns.
How about Brandon Graham to the Bengals with the no.21 pick?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
I project Graham to be more of a 3-4 outside linebacker, Blake. He really reminds me of LaMarr Woodley. Plus, the Bengals are OK at LB. They need help on offense (WR, TE) at No. 21.
JW, what % chance would you place that the Bengals actually make a deal for Marshall? Considering Mike Brown's reluctence to deal draft picks, is 15% too high? Basically, I'm searching for some hope...
James Walker (4:30 PM)
The always tricky percentage question. I would say the chances of Cincinnati giving up its first-round pick and signing Marshall to a $40 million contract extension is 3 percent.
Nick (Oakland, MD)
What position on the Steeler's o'line is in most need of an upgrade and do you think this newline coach from buffalo will make a difference?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
I don't think there is one glaring need. If the Steelers can land a stud tackle or a stud guard they can plug in, I think that will help everyone else on the o-line. Pittsburgh just needs a beast it knows it can run behind in the red zone and get those tough yards.
kyle chormanski (south bend)
why exactly are the bears so desperate? their fans are like browns fans, they love the team through thick and thin.
James Walker (4:38 PM)
Sorry to keep answering Bears questions. But the front office and coaches are in the hot seat going into this year. This is a must-win season for Lovie and Co. They might as well get the most talent available to make a run.
If Berry is gone before the Browns pick would trading down again make sense? Get to the mid teen's and select the best player there. Perhaps someone like Idaho's Iupati? Then find a safety like Rolle in round 2?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
The Browns traded down last year already, and they have more than enough picks (11) this year. I think they should get the best stud available at No. 7.
do the steelers still try to sign leigh bodden
James Walker (4:44 PM)
The Steelers like Bodden. But the money seems a bit out of Pittsburgh's range.
Is Aaron Hernandez a versitile enough tight end for the Rvaens to grab in round 2?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
I'm not sure Hernandez fits all that well with the Ravens. But he could better fit in Cincinnati.
what interest from other teams are you hearing for ravens restricted/unrestricted free agents? mason, clayton, dwan edwards, jared gaither, troy smith
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Smith and Gaither will get some interest. I doubt Smith will be back in Baltimore next year. Gaither's situation will be interesting. He's a very solid player but a first-round tender might scare some teams away.
Will the Bengals extend Marvin Lewis before the season or are they waiting to see if he can actually put together back to back winning seasons?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
The Bengals want to extend Lewis. They tried twice to my knowledge in the past several months but failed. Lewis is a little hesitant, because he has some leverage now (Coach of the Year) and wants to get things more his way on the football side.
Brandon (Cleveland, OH)
Do you believe Tom Heckert's statements that they don't think they need an elite WR? Some people have compared Dez Bryant to Andre Johnson. What's your take on him?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
I would not take a WR in the top 10 of the draft. That's a hard rule of mine with very few exceptions. It doesn't matter if the player is great. Teams in the top 10 usually have so many needs that getting a WR doesn't matter. If you can't block, your QB can't throw and you can run the ball, what's the point of drafting a WR?
do you think the bengals are a superbowl "potential" team with either bryant or T.O., assuming that they end up giving them the vertical threat they need.
James Walker (4:55 PM)
Too early for all of that. Let's see what happens in fre agency, the draft and training camp before we start making season predictions.
James Walker (4:56 PM)
But I have been spot on with my sleeper picks in the division. Two years ago I picked the Baltimore Ravens as my AFC North sleeper. Last year I picked the Bengals. I'm not sure if I will pick a sleeper this year. We'll see.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks for your time. Continue to check out the AFC North blog and also remember to check out our AFC North blog Twitter account.