By next week, teams will be holding full-team minicamps. In about 10 weeks, training camps will begin. And, in 115 days, the Baltimore Ravens will kick off the 2013 season with a game in Denver. In other words, there's still a long road to get to the regular season. Let's take one step closer with the wake-up call ...
RAVENS: The undrafted rookie who has the best shot at making the Ravens this year is Maryland tight end Matt Furstenburg. He reportedly received a $10,000 signing bonus, which is on the higher end for what the Ravens usually pay. And his only current competition for the No. 3 spot is Alex Silvestro, who spent last year on Baltimore's practice squad. Furstenburg chose to sign with the Ravens over the Carolina Panthers. "It’s the same everywhere; you’ve got to prove yourself,” Furstenburg told the team's official website. “Hopefully I make the team."
BENGALS: Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, a fifth-round draft pick out of Arkansas, caught the eye of offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Hamilton is a 6-foot-1 target who made catches in traffic at this weekend's rookie minicamp. "He'll challenge to make the squad and become a player," Gruden told the team's official website. "Cobi's an exciting guy. He's bigger than I thought he was. He's taller. He's got good stride to him, he's got good hands, he's tough. In Arkansas he ran a lot of crossing routes so we knew he wasn't afraid to go across the middle. We like Cobi. We're impressed with what he's done so far."
STEELERS: Defensive end Cam Heyward played in a 3-4 defense at Ohio State. Why has he had difficulties getting on the field for the Steelers? He's made 31 tackles and no starts since being a first-round pick in 2011. "My understanding that Cam was used a little differently by the Buckeyes than what the Steelers want from their 3-4 defensive ends," wrote Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I don't know that he's had such difficulties as much as Brett Keisel has played so well in front of him. Perhaps Heyward will give Ziggy Hood some competition for the job this year."
BROWNS: The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto believe it took guts for CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi to go with an unpopular plan of trading two of this year's draft picks and count on it paying off in 2014 and 2015. "Banner and Lombardi are aiming to take the team out of the five-year rut of 4-12 and 5-11 to something like 10-6 in a few seasons," Pluto wrote. "They believe having six picks in the first four rounds of 2014 is a step in that direction. They are counting on defensive coordinator Ray Horton to transform (Barkevious) Mingo into that elite pass rusher found on virtually every team that goes deep into the playoffs."