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)
Let's talk about the AFC North.
Which rookie QB not named Bradford or Clausen is most likely to end up in a Browns uniform?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
To my knowledge, the Browns certainly have interest in Texas QB Colt McCoy. He's coming in for a visit in April and the Browns like his short and medium accuracy. The team likes Bradford but has little chance at getting him. The Browns aren't very high on Jimmy Clausen, not with the No. 7 pick.
Do you expect to see the Steelers draft/acquire/sign a block fullback this offseason? Do they have confidence in David Johnson? Do they expect Frank Summers to perform? Sorry for three different questions in one.
James Walker (4:04 PM)
No problem. I haven't heard of much from Pittsburgh getting a fullback, but I wrote in the blog recently that it would be a wise move. Johnson is ok and did his job, but he's out of position. That's a fact. "The Tank" didn't show much last year. But I don't like to judge players too much after their rookie seasons.
Caleb (New York)
How do you think Troy Polamalu's knee injury will fare for him this season? Will it weaken his effectiveness, or cause teams to underestimate how (hopefully) effective he will be? From a Steelers fan in school in New York.
James Walker (4:06 PM)
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert told me that he has no worries about Polamalu's knee. There was even a chance that he could have returned in the wild-card game. So I expect him to be back after an entire offseason to heal and rest, and he will make a huge difference.
Michael Meltzer (College Station, TX)
I think that with the Browns no. 7 pick, that we have to choose Eric Berry over Joe Haden, unless for some reason Bradford falls to the Browns. Am I right? I think that Eric Wright is a solid corner and that Brandon Mcdonald shows some talent. The safety position, however, has not shown the same..
James Walker (4:08 PM)
Both players would help Cleveland's defense. But Berry is the safer pick. There's really no major holes you can pick in his game. With Haden, you can at least question his speed and maybe his size to a lesser degree. If both are there, Berry should be the pick.
James-how fare do you think the bengals will do well in the draft will it be like last year and plus looking at this year will the bengals do a repeat?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
Well, the Bengals had high picks in every round last year. So there is a difference. This year they are closer to the end of every round. But watch for those two compensatory picks in the third and the fourth rounds. Cincinnati can really help itself in the top half of the draft.
Gaither in Baltimore after the draft?
James Walker (4:13 PM)
Good question. This is something to really keep an eye on. I don't get the sense the Ravens want to pay Jared Gaither a huge extension this offseason, although I can't say that for certain. So if another team is willing to do it for a first-round pick, there's a better than 50 percent chance he could be gone. Otherwise the chances increase of Baltimore keeping Gaither around, probably to play out the one year.
Jake (Boardman, Ohio)
Do you think the Browns can get eric Berry with Kansas City and Tampa trying to get him to? There was a rumor that we could move up to the number 2 spot in the draft to get him.
James Walker (4:15 PM)
Don't believe everything you read Jake, especially this time of year. The Browns would have to give up so much on the point chart to move up to No. 2. Unless it's for a QB like Sam Bradford, it would be a mistake. You don't trade up that high for a safety.
Whats the farthest you see the steelers moving up in the draft...3 or 4 spots?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
It depends on the player. But if someone like Joe Haden gets in that 12-15 range, look out! Otherwise this draft is so deep that a great player should be there at No. 18.
Rafael (Shaker Heights)
Do you really think there are 4 players in the 5th round that the Browns like, or will they use the picks to move up into the 3rd or 4th round?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
I think the Browns have plans to do some moving and shaking. The team could use 12 new players, as long as they're good. But don't rule out the restricted free-agent market as well. Several good players have low tenders. Seattle starting offensive guard Rob Sims comes to mind.
why would baltimore want to break the continuity of their offensive line? they wont find a comparable starter late in this years draft either.
James Walker (4:22 PM)
It's a matter of "right player, right price," which is something the Ravens' front office says all the time. They got Gaither in the supplemental draft and could possibly flip that into a first-round pick. Ignoring who it is, that is a great proposition. But considering it's your starting left tackle, that's where they have to put some thought into it if this scenario played out.
James Walker (4:23 PM)
Plus the Ravens view Michael Oher as a future left tackle anyway. It would just happen sooner than expected.
Tony (Maysville, Ky)
Do you think the Bengals will get any prime time games this year?
James Walker (4:25 PM)
It's possible. The AFC North matches up against the NFC South and AFC East next year. So you have some good matchups like Bengals vs. Saints, Bengals vs. Jets (playoff rematch) and Bengals vs. Patriots. Not to mention the division games.
Brad (Cin, OH)
Mr. James, do you think my bengals will take Dez Bryant if he makes it to them? Did they have any coaches at this workout?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
The Bengals aren't looking at WRs at much after giving Antonio Bryant $28 million. I doubt Bryant would fall that far to No. 21 anyways. I'm not sure about the coaches.
Matt (Enola, PA)
James, How about the Browns shocking everyone and taking Dez Bryant to give them a #1 WR typr?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
I don't like that pick. I would rarely, if ever, take a WR in the top 10. The Browns have too many needs.
Do you see the league expanding to 17 games? If so, would they consider playing the extra game on a neutral site? I think there are enough North American and European cities that love football to make it happen.
James Walker (4:31 PM)
Expanding the season is an odd topic, Cindy. I can say from the players I've talked to, they don't want it. The games and injuries are already too much, in their view. I can't really speak on the interest of neutral sites. I don't know enough about interest from other countries, but I'm sure the NFL has a better grasp on potential countries.
Justin (Santa Fe)
In the latest Sportnation poll, the question is about your favorite team taking Bradford despite injury concerns. How would you vote?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
I don't have a favorite team unless it's the Temple Owls. I think my alma mater could use Bradford next season.
Do you think the browns will move up to get bradford?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
Hard to move up to pick zero. I think Sam Bradford goes to the Rams at No. 1.
Will (Maryland Uni!!)
Do you see cory redding having a big effect on the ravens d-line this season?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
I see Redding having a solid impact. He's asked to be that versatile player who can start in case of injury. Otherwise, his job is to give quality snaps off the bench. It's a good fit.
How come in your last article about the Bengals, Marvin Lewis didn't even mention the Super Bowl? It it just in the nature of the Bengals to fail in the playoffs?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I think you're reading too much into it. Lewis said "and so forth" which means in addition to other things.
Johnny Utah (Hollywood, CA)
I know we're far off but in your opinion, do you see anyone on the Browns having a breakout season next year?
James Walker (4:39 PM)
Probably too early for that. I want to see some minicamps and probably training camp to see who's looking good before I go there.
The starting outside LBs for the Browns are ______________ and _________. (I'm thinking they are not currently on the roster)
James Walker (4:40 PM)
Currently it's Matt Roth and David Bowens. But like you said, that can change between now and Sept.
Who do think is a better fit for the Ravens with their first round pick, Jared Odrick or Jermaine Gresham?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
I like both players. But I would take Gresham. I think the Ravens should do everything to help Joe Flacco become a great QB. The D was top 5 last year.
Dan (Newark, OH)
I'm intrigued by the potential of Cleveland's running game this season. Jerome Harrison was great late last season. James Davis showed flashes of potential and should be healthy. We'll hopefully have Vickers and the addition of Hillis has me very excited. What are your thoughts James?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
I think the Browns still need to add a bigger back. This is the AFC North, and the Browns will face three really tough defenses. I'm still not sold Harrison is a 300-carry-a-year running back.
JW, thanks for taking the time to be on the Fan yesterday, us listeners appreciate it. Have you been watching Chad on Dancing with the Stars? It is looking like the show won't conflict with football at all since he won't be lasting much longer...
James Walker (4:47 PM)
Always fun to be in Columbus, my old stomping grounds. Don't forget, Ochocinco has a dating show that will air this summer. He promised Marvin Lewis he wouldn't miss anything mandatory.
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Yes, I watched the first show. I didn't see last night's. I was in Cincinnati ironically for the Bengals' offseason workouts.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
Doesnt Ocho at some point need to back all of this up with on feild production?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
I thought Chad Ochocinco had a good year last season. It wasn't his career-best. But he's 31 now.
Steelers prob are goin to add another rb if FWP doesnt come back. Do they need a big hammer type back, or a quick back who can me a home-run hitter?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
Good question. I think the Steelers could be helped with a hammer to help in the red zone. But we will look into this topic some Wednesday in the AFC North blog. So check it out.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
Who is QB for the browns? as of right now, and your prediction?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Jake Delhomme will be the starter next season. The Browns are hoping to find their QB for 2011 and beyond in the draft.
joe (niagara falls)
Im watching the 2009 week 2 matchup between the Bengals and Steelers. Why did the Bengals look so different in week 2 compared to weeks 14-17?
James Walker (4:55 PM)
The Bengals say injuries. I say better competition, Cincy was no longer a sleeper, and, yes, they were banged up.
Is it safe to say that the AFC North has the worst kickers>?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
I haven't put much thought into that. But yes, the kicking is pretty average in the AFC North. Phil Dawson and Jeff Reed are solid. The situations in Cincy in Baltimore, though, are up in the air.
I heard the Bengals are targetiing CB Kyle Wilson at 21. but this sounds more like a smoke screen to make teams select him instead of Earl Thomas. So ET will be available at 21. your thoughts?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
The Bengals are much more likely to take Thomas in the first round. Why would they take a CB with the No. 21 overall pick? That player will be a backup next year. Add depth at CB later in the draft and get a first-rounder that can make an impact now.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone thanks for the solid questions. Be sure to check out the AFC North blog and follow us on Twitter.