By Gregg Rosenthal, Around The NFL Editor
» The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t mess around with their draft picks. They had open starting jobs at cornerback, safety, and nose tackle. Their first three picks were cornerback, safety, and nose tackle. First-round cornerback Artie Burns might be the biggest project of the three.
|QB: Ben Roethlisberger||DE: Cameron Heyward|
|RB: Le’Veon Bell||DT: Daniel McCullers|
|WR1: Antonio Brown||DE: Stephon Tuitt|
|WR2: Markus Wheaton||OLB: Jarvis Jones|
|WR3: Sammie Coates||ILB: Ryan Shazier|
|TE: Ladarius Green||ILB: Lawrence Timmons|
|LT: Alejandro Villanueva||OLB: Bud Dupree|
|LG: Ramon Foster||CB1: William Gay|
|C: Maurkice Pouncey||CB2: Ross Cockrell|
|RG: David DeCastro||S: Mike Mitchell|
|RT: Marcus Gilbert||S: Sean Davis|
» Steelers coaches “quietly believe” second round safety Sean Davis could start Week 1 over Robert Golden. Third-round nose tackle Javon Hargrave could beat out McCullers at nose tackle. The Steelers usually let their rookies marinate for a year, but they might not have that luxury this year.
» Let’s give second-year receiver Sammie Coates the nod over Darrius Heyward-Bey for the third receiver job. With Martavis Bryant suspended for the year, Markus Wheaton and Coates will need to step up. Coates essentially had a redshirt rookie season before making two big plays in the Divisional Round against the Broncos.
» Alejandro Villanueva and free agent Ryan Harris will battle for the left tackle job. The former Army Ranger has gone from being a great feature story to a key part of the Steelers roster. Pittsburgh poked around at left tackle Russell Okung in free agency, but didn’t want to pay big money.
» We are projecting James Harrison to remain a pass rusher off the bench.
|QB: Joe Flacco||DE: Timmy Jernigan|
|RB: Justin Forsett||DT: Brandon Williams|
|WR1: Steve Smith||DE: Lawrence Guy|
|WR2: Mike Wallace||OLB: Terrell Suggs|
|WR3: Breshad Perriman||ILB: C.J. Mosley|
|TE: Crockett Gillmore||ILB: Zachary Orr|
|LT: Ronnie Stanley||OLB: Elvis Dumervil|
|LG: John Urschel||CB1: Jimmy Smith|
|C: Jeremy Zuttah||CB2: Jerraud Powers|
|RG: Marshal Yanda||S: Eric Weddle|
|RT: Rick Wagner||S: Lardarius Webb|
» One way or another, I don’t expect Eugene Monroe to be on the Ravens. He could be released in camp or potentially traded. If Monroe does start at left tackle, Ronnie Stanley would move inside to guard like Jonathan Ogden once did as a rookie. Fourth-round pick Alex Lewis, who played tackle in college, is also in the left guard mix.
» The Ravens are suddenly deep at tight end if Dennis Pitta can continue his career after multiple hip injuries. Benjamin Watson could be the safest bet to start, but Crockett Gillmore has more athleticism at this stage of their careers. Last year’s second round pick Maxx Williams is also a roster lock.
» The top of Ozzie Newsome’s 2013 class is not faring well. First round pick Matt Elam could be on the roster bubble. Undrafted free agent Zachary Orr looks like a slight favorite to start over 2013 second rounder Arthur Brown.
|QB: Andy Dalton||DE: Carlos Dunlap|
|RB: Giovani Bernard||DT: Geno Atkins|
|WR1: A.J. Green||DL: Domata Peko|
|WR2: Brandon LaFell||DE: Michael Johnson|
|WR3 Tyler Boyd||OLB: Karlos Dansby*|
|TE: Tyler Eifert||ILB: Rey Maualuga|
|LT: Andrew Whitworth||OLB: Vincent Rey|
|LG: Clint Boling||CB1: Dre Kirkpatrick|
|C: Russell Bodine||CB2: Adam Jones|
|RG: Kevin Zeitler||S: George Iloka|
|RT: Cedric Ogbuehi||S: Shawn Williams|
» I’m calling Giovani Bernard a starter because he played more snaps than Jeremy Hill last season, something that I expect to happen again. Bernard is a better option on “running downs” than he’s given credit for and made more yards after contact than Hill last season.
» The Bengals often let their rookies learn on the bench for a year. They won’t be able to with Tyler Boyd, who fills a big need as a slot receiver. They are also counting on an inconsistent player in Brandon LaFell to be a true starter.
» It’s rare to see the team’s 2015 first-round pick (Cedric Ogbuehi) elevated to a starting job, with the 2015 second-round pick Jake Fisher as his likely backup. Fisher is learning all five positions in the offseason to back up the entire line. It’s a great line, with Russell Bodine as the weak spot.
» 2014 first-round pick Darqueze Dennard and this year’s first-rounder William Jackson III figure to be the No. 3 and No. 4 cornerbacks. Adam Jones is going to remain a starter after getting a huge contract in the offseason.
» Last call for Hard Knocks hero Margus Hunt to become an impact player.
» The Bengals roster top to bottom has few weak spots. It’s as balanced as any group in the league.
|QB: Robert Griffin III||DE: Desmond Bryant|
|RB: Duke Johnson||DT: Danny Shelton|
|WR1: Corey Coleman||DE: John Hughes|
|WR2: Andrew Hawkins||OLB: Paul Kruger|
|WR3: Rookie to be named later||ILB: Christian Kirksey|
|TE: Gary Barnidge||ILB: Demario Davis|
|LT: Joe Thomas||OLB: Emmanuel Ogbah|
|LG: Joel Bitonio||CB1: Joe Haden|
|C: Cameron Erving||CB2: Tramon Williams|
|RG: John Greco||S: Rahim Moore|
|RT: Shon Coleman||S: Jordan Poyer|
» It was hard to pencil in RGIII as the starter because Josh McCown would seem to have a good chance to win a fair, open competition. Hue Jackson’s quote that the team might name a starter before pads even come on in training camp indicates it might be heavily weighed towards Griffin. When multiple Browns beat writers say that it will take a “disastrous meltdown” for Griffin to not win the job, we’ll take their collective word.
» With so many rookie receivers on the roster, it will be tough for Brian Hartline and Andrew Hawkins to make the team. (Hartline was ultimately released.) Fifth-round pick Rashard Higgins could be the best bet of the rookies to emerge from the pack.
» The offensive line has a wide open four-way battle at right tackle. We’ll pencil in third-round pick Shon Coleman. The team needs last year’s first round pick Cameron Ervin to step up after moving to center.
» The Browns have as many open starting jobs as any team in the league. Only Joe Haden, Paul Kruger, Christian Kirksey, Danny Shelton, and Desmond Bryant are safe bets out of this group. Xavier Cooper and rookie Carl Nassib will challenge for defensive end spots. Safety is particularly wide open.