2022 Town Hall Notes: AFC North

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2022 Town Hall Notes: AFC North

The Fantasy Points staff recently welcomed NFL Films legend Greg Cosell and NFL Insider Adam Caplan to talk about the AFC North as part of our Virtual Town Hall Series. I highly encourage you to check out the entire conversation by accessing our Livestream archives.

Greg and Adam joined John Hansen and company to break down the AFC North from front to back to help us get a deeper understanding of every roster heading into the summer. John has been holding these closed-door meetings with Greg and Adam for the last 15+ years. The Fantasy Points staff is proud to let the public peek behind the curtain during these exclusive Livestreams! Here are the notes we compiled from the AFC North meeting.

Baltimore Ravens

  • Adam Caplan (AC): The Ravens are looking for speed at receiver after trading Marquise Brown to the Cardinals. They need to find someone who can run. The Ravens do have a major man-crush on Rashod Bateman but he tore his groin in training camp.

  • Greg Cosell (GC): Baltimore’s starting WRs in 11 personnel would be Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche right now with Tylan Wallace in the mix. Greg liked UDFA Makai Polk out of Mississippi State.

  • GC: The Ravens are telling us what they want to do with their draft and their free agency signings. They’re going to go back to Lamar Jackson as a runner as the foundation of their offense. They’re going to be a heavy 12-personnel team this season. Fourth-round pick Isaiah Likely can run for the position and fellow fourth-round pick Charlie Kolar catches everything thrown in his direction.

  • GC: Tyler Badie’s draft position in the sixth round wasn’t surprising because of his size (5’8”, 197 pounds) but he has some talent.

Cincinnati Bengals

  • AC: Drew Sample will be the inline TE and Hayden Hurst will be the movement TE. C.J. Uzomah was a much more sturdy receiver in this offense. Hurst is too much of a finesse receiver who doesn’t play through contact enough.

  • GC: The Bengals want their running game to be a little more consistent. They ran well at times last year but it was too all over the map. They want their run game to make a bigger impact. They will ideally have four new starters with Jonah Williams, who is just okay. Graham notes that Joe Mixon had seven straight games where he was held to under 4.0 YPC late in the season, which is unacceptable for a player of his talent.

  • AC: The Bengals could add a body to the backfield mix at some point to give Samaje Perine competition. They don’t have a guy that you feel good about giving 15+ carries to in a game if Mixon is out.

Cleveland Browns

  • GC: Deshaun Watson is a really good quarterback and Amari Cooper is clearly their #1 WR. Every other receiver on the roster is a bit of a relative unknown so Cooper should see a lot of targets in this offense.

  • GC: Greg liked David Bell coming out of Purdue, but he fell to the third round after testing poorly — he ran a 4.65-second 40-time. Bell is a big kid (6’1”, 212 pounds) and a professional route runner. He should be able to line up inside but he didn’t do it much in college. Greg isn’t making a direct comparison, but he noted that Cooper Kupp was a big kid (6’2”, 204 pounds) who didn’t test well (4.62-second 40-time).

  • AC: They’re going to up their percentage of pass attempts with Watson at quarterback. They could work Anthony Schwartz into the slot. He could have dangerous speed from the inside.

  • GC: Schwartz is a wild card. He’s probably not going to be a volume receiver, but he can really run and they drafted him in the third round.

  • GC: Jerome Ford was an Alabama recruit who transferred to Cincinnati, and he’s better than the fifth-round pick they used on him. He can run inside, he has some explosiveness, and he can also contribute as a receiver. Greg compared Ford to Kareem Hunt in the pre-Draft process, and he could easily be Hunt’s replacement if he leaves after this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • GC: The Steelers drafted Kenny Pickett in the first round, and they could easily cut Mitchell Trubisky after this season. It’s going to be a competition but it would be surprising if Pickett doesn’t win it. They know they’re not competing for a Super Bowl with Trubisky as their quarterback, especially with how loaded the AFC is right now.

  • AC: OC Matt Canada couldn’t run the offense he wanted to run with Ben Rothlisberger as his quarterback. This is a heck of a young receiving corps. They’re going to use a lot of 11 personnel.

  • GC: George Pickens is a very complete receiver, and he was Greg’s favorite WR in this year’s draft. He’s really gifted. Chase Claypool is more of a straight-line receiver. He can certainly run but he’s not a complete receiver. Calvin Austin is small (5’7”, 170 pounds) but he’s a threat all over the field. He can work outside and he beat press coverage in college. Austin isn’t a track guy playing receiver. He had a feel for route-running.

  • AC: We don’t know who Najee Harris’ handcuff will be. Benny Snell is sluggish and Anthony McFarland is a changeup. They believe their offensive line will be better this season, and they added a good player in James Daniels from the Bears.

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