Omaha! ...
Season 4,

#166: AFC North Preview with Pete Smith of Browns Maven

September 17, 2019

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  1. The Bengals hired Zac Taylor mainly because he worked with Sean McVay. And when you look at this Bengals offense…the pieces just might be there to replicate what the Rams have done on offense the past two seasons. You have a legitimate bellcow RB in Joe Mixon who can play the Todd Gurley role. And you have a trio of WR’s in A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross that (as a group) have the potential to be as good or better than the collective of Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. However, the issues the Bengals have on the offensive line may put a damper on the potential of their skill players this season. Despite their efforts in the offseason to revamp the OL, 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams is likely out for the season with a shoulder injury and G Clint Boling retired. Without those two, just how bad is this Bengals OL? Is it like one of the five worst OL units in the league?


  1. Joe Mixon’s current ADP is around 15th overall according to Fantasy Football Calculator. The talent, volume and the potential are there to finish 2019 as a top-three fantasy RB, which makes it totally understandable to take him at that point in your draft, or even earlier. However, given the fact the floor for the Bengals this season is very low, they could find themselves in a lot of lopsided games in which the game script won’t favor the running game. Thus, there’s a good argument NOT to take Joe Mixon at his current ADP. Where would you be comfortable taking Mixon in your fantasy draft?


  1. Last season, the Bengals defense was just god-awful. They ended the year as the NFL’s lowest ranked total defense. But the Bengals apparently believe bad luck on the injury front was to blame last season, especially in terms of the pass rush where the underrated Carl Lawson suffered a torn ACL. With Lawson expected to be healthy and ready to go by Week 1 or shortly thereafter, how much does his presence improve that Bengals pass rush and the defense as a whole?


  1. This is by far THE best Browns roster on paper since the franchise was reinstated 20 years ago. Offensively, you have Baker Mayfield, who clearly looks like the face of the franchise for the next decade-plus. You have an incredible one-two punch at RB with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and now you bring in arguably the most talented WR in football in Odell Beckham, Jr. to go along with a solid receiving corps. However, the OL, in its second season post-Joe Thomas, looks like a glaring weakness. The Browns also traded away their best OL Kevin Zeitler in order to land OBJ. If you were John Dorsey, would you be willing to part with your 2020 first-round pick in order to acquire disgruntled Redskins Pro Bowl OT Trent Williams?


  1. With Kareem Hunt suspended for the first eight games of the season, Nick Chubb is one of THE most attractive options for fantasy owners as far as RB’s go. Chubb’s current ADP is around 11 overall, per Fantasy Football Calculator. Would you grab him at that juncture, or would you pass and select somebody like Dalvin Cook or Kerryon Johnson instead?


  1. I am just as excited about the Browns defense this year as I am about the offense. You have potentially two shutdown corners in Denzel Ward and rookie Greedy Williams…a DEEP and talented crop of linebackers consisting of Joe Schobert, Christian Kirksey plus rookies Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki and arguably one of the best front fours in the game with Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon coming off the edge with Sheldon Richardson and the extremely underrated Larry Ogunjobi inside. Will it be a disappointment if this isn’t a top-ten total defense by season’s end? Is this the season Myles Garrett shows us that he is on the level of Khalil Mack and Von Miller?


  1. Lamar Jackson enters his first full season as the Ravens starting QB. Although we should still expect the Ravens to be a run-heavy offense, Jackson must take the next step as a passer. Do you think he’s capable of taking that next step? The Ravens added a LOT of speed to their offense in the draft with WR’s Hollywood Brown and Miles Boykin and RB Justice Hill. Does this offense have the potential look of an “exotic smash-mouth” attack with a lot of misdirection, reverses, jet sweeps, et al?


  1. Mark Ingram figures to be a focal point of this offense. His current ADP is 40.9, per Fantasy Football Calculator. Would you be content taking him as your second or third RB at that spot, or would you rather wait a couple rounds to take James White (67.7) or Latavius Murray (72.7)?


  1. Last season, the Ravens led the NFL in total defense. But this offseason, they lost some key stalwarts in free agency such as Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, and C.J. Mosley? How big of step back do you see this unit taking in 2019? Is Earl Thomas (health permitting) an upgrade over Eric Weddle?


  1. How possible is it that the Steelers offense experiences minimal decline without Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown?


  1. James Conner’s current ADP is 8.4. However, there’s been a lot of talk that Conner won’t necessarily be a bellcow as the Steelers plan to involve Jaylen Samuels and rookie Benny Snell a lot as well. Is Conner worth it that high?


  1. How suspect is this Steelers secondary?




  1. Truth/Exaggeration


-Baker Mayfield will throw 35-40 TD passes

-This will be the final season for Andy Dalton in Cincinnati as the Bengals end up with a top-three pick in the 2020 NFL Draft

-Mark Andrews will be the Ravens leader in receiving yardage AND receiving TD’s

-Devin Bush will record 110+ tackles, 3 INT’s, 4 FF’s, and 15+ TFL on his way to 2019 DROY

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