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. The 2011 NFL schedule will be released tonight. But until then let's get into some questions and answers.
Alan (Cheviot Hills)
Week 17, Ravens and Steelers. This is a must this time around isnt it?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
I wouldn't say it's a must, but I do think these games need to be separated at the beginning and end of the season. These two teams take a lot out of each other. So the more space in between games, the better for both clubs.
Ryan (Maria Stein, OH)
What are the odds that A.J. Green will be available at #6 for the Browns?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
I would say about 50-50. There's only one team in the top five that could take Green ahead of Cleveland and that's Cincinnati at No. 4. But the Bengals are the favorite to do so according to a lot of people.
John (Baltimore, MD)
What do you think the possibility is of the Ravens trading up in the draft ahead of the Eagles to grab Jimmy Smith from Colorado?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Baltimore may not have to trade up to get Smith. He's a very good prospect but character concerns could make him available at No. 26. But I don't see the Ravens taking a corner that high this year. They have some other holes to fill at RT, OLB and WR.
Blake (Ann Arbor, MI) [via mobile]
James, do you think Dhani Jones has enough left in the tank to contribute to the Bengals or another team? Bengals leading tackler the last three seasons doesn't hurt either.
James Walker (4:08 PM)
Jones records a lot of tackles but he doesn't make a lot of impact plays. He will get picked up somewhere but I think it's time for the Bengals to go younger next season and move Rey Maualuga to his natural position at MLB. That gives them more aggresiveness in the middle and also helps Maualuga feel more comfortable in the defense.
Thank you for the chats...I cannot believe Dermonti is still not in the HOF...Arguably the best center of his decade...Should be a no brainer...Is this just backlash against the having so many in?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
I don't have a HOF vote so it's hard for me to really breakdown certain things on this subject. IMO, Dawson is one of the best centers of all-time, but it's not a glamour position and probably one of the hardest to get into the Hall. Dawson also suffers from a ton of great players coming down the pike in recent years who are first-ballot players and taking up spots each year. I think it will continue to be tough for him.
Dennis (Milton, DE)
Is this the year that the Ravens will end the 3 year drought of not having a hosting MNF game?
James Walker (4:13 PM)
We will find out tonight. But are you sure you want that for the Ravens? They seem to be inconsistent in prime-time games.
Jason Thomas (Pittsburgh,PA)
Are the chances of the NFL coming back to Los Angeles very likely right now?
James Walker (4:16 PM)
I always thought there was a good chance for the NFL to return to LA at some point. It's a top-five market and there's no reason our most popular sport should not be in one of the largest markets. I think the biggest question is when can a stadium be built and which team is willing to move there.
Mitch (Tallmadge, OH)
I was just curios as to what kind of limitations there will be for trading at this years draft with the lockout. Will draft picks be the only thing available to trade?Also, what kind of margin do you predict for Hillis' victory over Vick for the Madden cover?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
The limitation is you can't involve players into trades. It will strictly be picks for picks. I'm not really into prediction the Madden tournament. But we will keep you update on what's going on later this week.
Marcus (columbus, OH)
I say WR, you have to have a threat to open AFC NORTH defense's. Jones is better choice due to blocking.
James Walker (4:22 PM)
I think Julio Jones is a bit of a reach at No. 6. But some people disagree. I don't like the idea in general of drafting WRs in the top 10. But if the Browns did so this year, I think A.J. Green is a little better.
Brian (Perry, OH)
What do think about the Browns not getting the player they want at #6 and trading down to garner multiply picks??
James Walker (4:25 PM)
If the price is right, I'm never against trading down. But I think a QB (Newton or Gabbert) has to be there for a team to want the No. 6 pick.
Are julio jones and/or robert quinn a reach for the browns at 6
James Walker (4:28 PM)
Robert Quinn hasn't played football for a year but I don't consider it a reach. He wasn't injured. He was suspended and I think he fits what the Browns need at DE. Jones I do think is a bit of a reach at No. 6.
Would Sidney Rice be a good fit for Baltimore's offense? Do you think they would consider him if he is an UFA?
James Walker (4:31 PM)
I don't see the Ravens spending a ton of money this year on outside free agents. Haloti Ngata is going to take up a good chunk of change, and he deserves it. The Ravens don't need to sign any big-money WRs. They have two starters in Mason and Boldin. They just need a speed-burner to complement them, which they can find in the draft.
what will it cost the steelers to move up to get patrick peterson?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
Their entire draft, basically. I don't see this happening. The Steelers have been scouting a lot of second-tier CBs.
Matt (Florence, SC)
With Pittsburgh likely drafting CB in the early rounds do they resign William Gay ?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
Ike Taylor is the biggest priority in the secondary for Pittsburgh. Gay struggled a lot last year, and I think his return depends on whether the Steelers are able to find depth in the draft.
Seth (New York)
Do you think Mike Pouncey to Baltimore is a good possibility? It would definitely add to the already great rivalry with the steelers.
James Walker (4:36 PM)
The Ravens need a RT more than a G/C. But Pouncey is a good player and I wouldn't rule it out. It would certainly be interesting for the rivalry between the Ravens and Steelers to have a twin on each side.
Drutroit (Columbus, Ohio)
If Hillis makes it on the cover of Madden, will that curse offset the infamous "Cleveland Curse"?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I've never heard of "off-setting curses." That's something Cleveland fans made up this week, but we will see if Peyton Hillis wins the vote.
Andy Gage (Hagerstown Maryland)
From what you are hearing will the Ravens keep Michael Oher on "The Blindside" or move him over to RT and either draft or sign a LT?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
Right now the plan is to keep Oher at LT. But if the Ravens find someone better or more natural in the draft or FA to play the position, they are willing to reconsider. Right now Oher is the best person to play LT on the roster.
LG (Cbus Oh)
JW,If Kyle Rudolph is there in round 2 do you think the Browns are tempted?? I know they have Watson, but he's getting older and Rudy is a matchup nightmare (he can line up in the slot nd has great speed for being 6'6") Thoughts??Thx
James Walker (4:41 PM)
The Browns are pretty happy with Ben Watson and Evan Moore. That is one of the few positions where they have a quality starter and quality depth. So I don't see Cleveland taking a TE that high next week. The team has too many holes elsewhere.
Drutroit (Columbus, Ohio)
How big of a difference will we see in Cleveland's defense this year compared to last year?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
We have to see what kind of players they get first, Drutroit. If the Browns don't draft any DL trying to run a 4-3, they will be in serious trouble.
andrew (new jersey)
which AFC north game besides the rivalries are you most anticipating?
James Walker (4:46 PM)
I always like the Colts matchups. Seeing Peyton Manning vs. the Ravens' D and Steelers' D are fun games.
Kevin (Columbus, OH)
Do you see the Browns trading a few spots down in the draft if either Gabbert or Newton is available at the six spot?
James Walker (4:50 PM)
That's the most likely scenario. Several teams such as Washington and Minnesota need QBs, and Newton or Gabbert could make those teams jump.
if jimmy mith is still there at 31 do you think the steelers pull the trigger and draft him?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
Smith has talent but doesn't seem like a good fit in Pittsburgh's locker room. I think the Ravens are more likely to take Smith than Pittsburgh.
what are the chances of a superbowl rematch?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
That rarely happens in back-to-back years in today's NFL. I think the Steelers and Packers should both be contenders next year. But there's just too many variables.
Matt (Florence, SC)
What players could you see Pittsburgh potentially trading up for?
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Florida G/C Mike Pouncey would be the biggest name right now. It depends on how far he falls. But this draft is so deep that Pittsburgh should have a chance to land a good player.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Thanks again for your time, everyone. Remember to check the AFC North blog Tuesday night for updates on the NFL schedule release.