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)
Hello everyone. Let's try to make sense out of all that is currently going on in the AFC North.
What is your overall opion on holmgrens moves so far. I say ameture hour is over
James Walker (4:03 PM)
Most of the moves make sense, Tom. And I can tell you from experience, there were a lot of times I didn't feel that way with Cleveland. I think Mike Holmgren would have liked a bigger impact in free agency/trades. But this was a different year and they ended up the players they have.
Who do you think the browns will draft as a QB this year
James Walker (4:05 PM)
There are 31 other teams, so the draft is too unpredictable to say one player, because every team's draft board is a little different. But I can say Cleveland is interested in Texas QB Colt McCoy. The Browns like his short and mid-range accuracy and think he could be a good fit in the West Coast offense.
ryan short (greensburg)
will the steelers have a good secondary this year or will it be a let down?
James Walker (4:06 PM)
It really depends on the health of S Troy Polamalu. If he's fine, the Steelers defense as a whole might be the best in the league. Polamalu really makes that much of a difference.
If Jake Dellome has 1 more pro bowl like season left in him, can the browns go 8-8 or 9-7. And have a trun around like parcells had with miami.
James Walker (4:07 PM)
I wouldn't count on Delhomme having a Pro Bowl year, Ryan. Just being honest.
Josh Rocket (Baltimore, Md)
Hey James, love the blog. I know it's early, but regarding your post about Jared Gaither, do you think the ravens will draft an OT in round 1 or 2? a repeat of last year?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Nah, the Ravens have some other needs. Michael Oher could go to LT if for some reason Gaither is signed by another team. BTW, according to Drew Rosenhaus, there are no issues between Gaither and the team.
Is Limas Sweed on his way out in Pittsburgh? Does he have any trade value at all?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
I can't say for sure either way at this point. But if Sweed doesn't stick, he will be released. I doubt he has much trade value unless it's for a seventh-round pick or something to that degree.
I saw you had Jerome Simpson at number 2 on your AFC North mysteries list. Noboy in Cincy can figure out why he can't get on the field. Is it him or Bratkowski? Is it really that hard to have him run downfield to open up the middle?
James Walker (4:13 PM)
Playing WR in the NFL is not as easy as you think, Drew. In fact, WRs can be the slowest position to develop sometimes. With Simpson, he just didn't play enough elite competition in college. So when he has to do it now, he doesn't look ready. Maybe that will change in his third year. We will see.
Eric (New York)
Hey James,I know I saw in one of your posts or mailbag answers the other day that you thought the Browns might go after RFA Rob Sims at RG. Why do you think that and if we were to do that would it cost in compensation? Would he just be a stop gap RG until we could groom someone or does he have potential to be decent for us.Thanks!
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Sims has a fourth-round tender, and he played for Mike Holmgren before in Seattle. The Browns need a right guard, and to get a starter for that price makes sense, especially since the Browns have so many picks.
Kovacs (Santa Monica)
Lets say the Browns take Eric Berry. It's seeming more and more like Joe Haden could fall all the way to Steel at 18. Would the 49ers really pass on Haden twice and make Christmas come early to the Burgh?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
I really don't see Joe Haden falling to No. 18. Potential shutdown corners are too valuable. Everyone saw the difference Darrelle Revis made in New York and won't pass up that opportunity with Haden, if he's as good as advertised.
Do you think the Ravens will trade Jared Gaither, and who do you think the Ravens Draft in the 1st round?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
I do not believe the Ravens will actively trade Gaither. But there is a chance another team could offer him a large contract, which means the Ravens have the choice to match or take that team's first-round pick. They are two different things, but maybe that's what you meant, Ryan.
Homer K (Fort Thomas, KY)
Who do you think will be the most productive running back in the AFC North this season?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Same guy as last season in terms of total yards: Ray Rice.
Alan (Sherman Oaks)
THe Browns have discussed moving up in the draft. Adding a player like Suh or McCoy to go along with Rogers and Rubin would give them a dominating front. Any chance this happens?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Don't believe everything you hear this time of year, Alan. I'd be really surprised if the Browns moved up for a DL. Sam Bradford or Eric Berry would be only two players I see them really coveting in the top 5. Otherwise, they can sit at No. 7 and get a very good player, maybe Berry in fact.
With 10 picks and a pretty full roster already, do you see Pittsburgh trading up for a few picks?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Pittsburgh is a team which trades up and down. The Steelers are pretty flexible. If CB Joe Haden somehow makes it to the teens, watch out!
Matchz Malone (Tallahassee)
All this talk about Boldin, what do you think about Stallworth next season>
James Walker (4:26 PM)
Donte' Stallworth was on my "mystery" list this week. I haven't seen him play a down since 2008. So I can't say one way or the other how well he's going to do. The Ravens feel he's in great shape, though. I will have a better feel for this after watching him in training camp this summer.
Given the Browns many holes to fill..would it be wise to not concentrate on drafting a QB this year and wait til next years draft ?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
I think drafting a QB is smart as long as it's a player the Browns like. The QB will hold a clipboard and learn for a year. Cleveland has so many picks that using one on the most important position on the field is far from a crime.
Why no extra draft picks for the Ravens? They lost 3 starters from last years team (J. Brown, J. Leonard, and B. Scott) and only picked up 2 (Birk and Foxworth).
James Walker (4:30 PM)
The formula is never exact. But the NFL felt the amount of players going out and coming in balanced out for Baltimore. I understand if Ravens fans want to debate that point, but take it up with the league.
James, great work on the blog. Shouldn't the Bengals focus early in the draft still be offense? TE, G, and WR early. With the defense returning intact, seems like an infusion of offensive talent is the way to go. Thanks
James Walker (4:31 PM)
Good point, Scott. If I'm the Bengals, I would go offense high, maybe a TE and OG. Then look at the defense later in the draft. The D is fine. It was a top-five unit last year.
Alan (Sherman Oaks)
Could Suh or McCoy fit in up front in the Browns 3-4 system as an end?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
The Browns will not take Suh or Gerald McCoy next month. So you don't have to worry about that.
Who do you think the Bengals should pick in the 1st round if they are both available: Tate, Mays or Gresham?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
If everyone is available: Gresham, Tate, then Mays.
do u think the browns could take C.J. Spiller with the 7th pick?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
Spiller is not the favorite. But I wouldn't completely rule it out. A lot would have to happen, such as Sam Bradford, Eric Berry and Joe Haden being off the board. It's not impossible, but I wouldn't say it's very likely, either.
Why pay Jake Dellhomme $7mil when nobody else would have given him $4mil? Did Cleveland jump way to quick and spen way to much money on a QB that might have nothing left?
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Personally, I think $7 million is too much for Jake Delhomme, especially coming off the type of season he had in 2009. But I don't write the checks. So what does it matter? There's no salary cap this year anyway.
What is the "worst-case" scenario for the Browns with their 1st round pick?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
This is just my opinion, but taking Jimmy Clausen would be the worst thing the Browns could do. First, I'm not sold on him as a top 7 pick. Second, Clausen probably wouldn't play next year anyway. So you would have a top 7 pick getting paid a lot of money and riding the pine next year.
James Walker (4:40 PM)
The Browns need to take someone who can play now. They have too many holes.
Alan (Sherman Oaks)
Does Marcus Bernard fill in the hole left by Wimbley? Drafting another OLB high after trading away Wimbley wouldn't see to make sense.
James Walker (4:42 PM)
"King Kong" needs to show a little more over the course of a 16-game season to be a full-time starter. But Bernard played well in spurts. I don't think the Browns are done at linebacker.
Any reason the Browns haven't gone after a restricted free agent with all the picks they have? Kirk Morrison for a third rounder doesn't sound so bad when we have three of them. Atogwe too.
James Walker (4:43 PM)
Most teams are taking its time and securing all the unrestricted guys first. I don't think it's a Browns thing. The restricted market should pick up in the next few weeks.
Joseph (Athens, GA)
What do you think about Carlos Dunlap as a fit for the Ravens?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
Dunlap is a player I'm not high on. He has motivation questions, and I tend to stay away from those players no matter how much talent they have. Baltimore usually takes players who are very motivated ("Play like a Raven"). So I don't see Dunlap as a good fit.
Matt (Cleveland, OH)
If you haven't read the PD's article today about the Browns' Joe Thomas, you should. The guy seems to view the world in the proper perspective for a 25 year old kid.
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I've covered Joe Thomas his entire career in Cleveland and gotten to know him some. He's very mature and a good person. He gets it, probably the best draft pick Cleveland's had since 1999.
Alan (Sherman Oaks)
Heckert gave the Eagles offensive a huge boost before leaving by drafting a bunch of speed (McCoy, Jackson, and Maclin). Do you see him trying to help make the Browns offensive come alive the same way?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
Good point, Alan. The West Coast offense is built on playmakers. If the Browns select skill players high in the draft, they will be very good athletes.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
Whats with all the Browns fans?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Not to take a shot, but they are usually the offseason champions in the AFC North. Because Cleveland struggles so much during the season, Browns fans usually have the most to talk about in the offseason. It's true.
How can the Bengals have such a stellar punt return team and a mediocre kickoff return team? Will they address this in the draft?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Two different skills, Harv. The Bengals also had two different players running them--Cosby on punts, Caldwell/Scott on kickoffs at different points. I haven't heard much about Cincinnati drafting kick returners this year. Scott may be able to develop into that player.
What is your personal opinion on the new OT rules?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
I thought sudden death overtime was fine. But I don't think it's a big deal that the NFL changed it. What percentage of games go to overtime? Five? Seven? I do think it's strange to change it for the playoffs and not the regular season, though. If you're going to change it, don't change it some of the time. Make it universal.
You had timmons on your mystery board, do you think last season proved he is an OLB and the steelers draft an ILB this year to groom to replace farrior?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
I think Lawrence Timmons would be better on the outside, which is his natural position. But what can the Steelers do? You can't bench Pro Bowl players in LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison. That doesn't make sense. So the Steelers found a way to get Timmons on the field as best they could, knowing he's going to have some growing pains.
James Walker (5:01 PM)
Everyone, thanks for your time and the great questions. I really enjoyed it. Remember to check out the AFC North blog and/or our popular AFC North Twitter page.