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)
I have a quick message. I'm currently in the middle of an interview for a story and will be back in 10 minutes. I promise we will go the full hour when I get back.
James Walker (4:10 PM)
Ok, I'm back. Just finished up an interesting interview for a story you will see later this week. Let's get to some questions.
Were the Thaddeus Gibson and Jason Worilds picks used by the Steelers to help boost are Special Teams play?
James Walker (4:11 PM)
For the short term, yes, that was the primary goal. But 3-4 edge rushers are hard to find, and the Steelers felt both players had good potential to do it. So they stocked up on them to the point where they don't have to worry about injury or having these players in on the roster in the future.
Mikey P (Boulder, CO)
Everyone has been praising the Kindle pick.....How serious is his knee problem?
James Walker (4:12 PM)
Sergio Kindle has had multiple surgeries on his right knee, and that's probably the biggest reason he fell to the second round. But each team has its own medical staff and process, and Baltimore was one of the teams which felt the problem wasn't too big to pass on him in the second round.
James Walker (4:13 PM)
What's strange about the NFL is some players come to the league with injury histories and stay healthy, while others have no injuries in college and can't get on the field in the pros. I've seen both happen, so we will see.
Sup James!? Outside of Boldin, Mason, and Stallworth, who do you think is on the Ravens receiving corps at Week 1? Are Williams and MClay on the way out and Maybe Smith, Harper, or Reed on the way in? there are 8 receivers for maybe 5 spots? Thoughts?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
The Ravens could keep six receivers if someone can contribute on special teams. But it will be interesting to see. I wrote earlier this week that drafting David Reed was a clear message to some of the veterans like Clayton and Williams to get it together. I think Clayton will be fine. But Williams could be on thin ice if Reed turns out to be a surprising rookie.
Do you know when the fantsy drafts typically begin
James Walker (4:18 PM)
Wow, I know fantasy football is huge and we try to address it sometimes in the AFC North blog. But I didn't know this question would come just days after the draft. Most fantasy drafts are during the summer. But there are some "keeper" leagues that people monitor year-round.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think had the best & the worst selections from the AFC North in the 2010 NFL Draft?
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Let me think...I like the Sergio Kindle pick for Baltimore. The guy can play. It's just a matter of health. I really questioned the T.J. Ward pick for Cleveland. Not a bad player, just in terms of the value where they drafted him at No. 38. But the Browns really needed a safety.
Eric T. (Tamaqua, PA)
Hey James, the Steelers hardly addressed their O-line needs in the draft, do you see a possibility the Steelers bring back Alan Faneca?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
I don't see it, Eric. The Steelers felt Faneca had too much tread on the tires a couple of years ago. So their opinion of him as a player has to be the same or maybe worse at this point. I would disagree that Pittsburgh didn't help its O-line. First-round pick Maurkice Pouncey was a very solid pick for them.
Fred M (Baltimore)
With their draft picks filling most of their needs, how far do you see the Ravens going this season? Super Bowl, maybe?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
Too early for me to go there. I will leave that to everyone else. I want to see the product in practice and on the field in training camp and the preseason first. I'm still searching for that 2010 sleeper team though. I'm pretty good at that. I got the Ravens in 2008 and Bengals in 2009 in back-to-back years.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Do you think Larry Asante will stick with the Browns and maybe get some playing time?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
I do like the Larry Asante pick, especially where they got him in the fifth round. He has some limitations, but he's aggresive and can hit, which is required in this division. Asante will need to be coached up a bit, but I think he has a good chance to make the team.
Harv (Temple, TX)
Luckily ( I think), the Steelers traded for Bryant McFadden during the draft. CB is an obvious weakness and I really felt we should have drafted one in round 2 or 3. How do you think we'll shape up with McFadden and Taylor on the corners this year?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
This was a good move for Pittsburgh, especially for a fifth-rounder. Pittsburgh made a mistake to let McFadden go the first time, because the team had so much confidence in William Gay. Now both players can go back to the roles that fit them best.
How far do you think the Patriots will go in the playoffs ?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
If they play the AFC North in the first round again, not very far.
What's JW, who's starting this season Terrence Cody or Kelly Gregg
James Walker (4:33 PM)
Kelly Gregg is the starter, Russell. Cody will play in relief and certain situations before eventually taking over down the road. But this is a great situation for Cody to play limited snaps and get best out of him while he gets in shape and learns the NFL game.
Joseph (Athens, GA)
I loved the Raven's draft, dont get me wrong. But how upset should I be about the Cowboys snagging Dez Bryant at pick 24?
James Walker (4:35 PM)
Ozzie Newsome said the trade offer from Denver was so good, that the Ravens probably would've traded out of No. 25 even if Bryant was there. The decision would have been more difficult. But Baltimore is very happy with the players it got in return.
Hey JW l your blog is beast. Do you think this is Ray Lewis' last season in Baltimore?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
Thanks, Terrence. Ray Lewis is still making Pro Bowls. I interviewed him two years ago and he said he could play another four years. I think he still has at least two good years left, which is amazing at that position.
Brian (Greensboro, NC)
Why did the Ravens do nothing to address their secondary and where do you see Kindle playing?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
The Ravens couldn't address everything. It's a passing league and cornerbacks were flying off the board like crazy in the first two rounds. I see Kindle as a 3-4 edge rusher opposite Terrell Suggs.
Hey JW love the blog. I was wondering if you could rank the best off-seasons in the AFC North so far this season.
James Walker (4:41 PM)
That's a good idea for a future blog. Let me think about that one.
Ben (Columbus, OH)
Hey James. I'm a big fan of your blog and I watched the video about Shipley you posted today. What do you think Shipley brings to Cincy's offense and what role do you see him having his rookie year?
James Walker (4:43 PM)
First off, Shipley is a nature at returning kicks. The Bengals will have to make a lot of decisions at WRs, and Quan Cosby could be on the short end if Shipley takes his spot as a punt returner. On offense, Cincinnati is hoping Shipley can help move the chains in the middle of the field. But we will see how quickly he can adjust to the pro level.
James, isn't the T.J. Ward made worse because Asante is essentially the same player?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
That's a good point, Dan. The Browns were looking for the same type of safeties, but I don't know if two were needed. Keep in mind, Eric Mangini is a former DB coach and really likes CBs and safeties.
Jordan (Cleveland, Ohio)
Which rookie safety do you think will start first for the Browns: TJ Ward or Larry Asante
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I wrote about this topic earlier today in my AFC North blog. Let's just say this: If Asante (fifth-rounder) beats out Ward (second-rounder), then the Browns did a poor job of drafting this year.
Am I the only one questioning the Bengals drafting Dunlap in the second round. I feel like we've got three solid players in Geathers, Odom, and Michael Johnson who form a solid rotation. Why didn't we go after a Safety, which is what we really need
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Jonathan Fanene is there, too, and is a pretty solid player. But Dunlap has a ton of ability. If he can be coached up and motivated to play hard all the time, it will be a good pick.
Is Holmgren expecting Delhomme to return to his early career stats, or was he just a capable body at a reasonable price?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
The Browns are obviously hoping for the best. But I think they are realistic about it, too. They don't expect him to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, just hold the fort for a year and play smart football. I wouldn't call $7 million for this year reasonable, but that's just me.
Johnny U. (Hollywood, CA)
With Montario Hardesty's history of injuries do you really think it was wise to trade back into the second round for him?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
I thought it was a reach to trade up. But you never really know what's on the other 31 team's draft boards. The Browns really like him and thought he would be gone. Hardesty was healthy all last season, so maybe that's a good sign.
JW, which WR's make the Bengals roster? A month ago this was a huge need, now they may not be able to keep them all... So who goes? Simpson? Jones?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
Without having seen where any of these players are this year, I would be surprised if Jerome Simpson made the team this year. Unless he dramatically improved from what I saw last season, Simpson may not make the cut. Matt Jones I haven't seen player in two years. So I have no clue where he's at physically right now. I can better answer this question after a few weeks of training camp.
The ravens didn't pick any cornerbacks which I am ok with since the picks we got are great but who are some of the best corners out there availible now.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Dre Bly and Ken Lucas are two decent names out there. But it's too early to say if the Ravens are interested.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
It will be interesting to watch in a few years Kindle trying to take Colt McCoys head off as kindle was famous for doing at Texas.
James Walker (5:02 PM)
I didn't think about that, but good point. Former Texas WR Jordan Shipley also plays for the Bengals.
A year out - Mark Sanchez, or Alex Mack + Ratliff (4th on QB depth chart) Abe Elam (should start) Kenyon Coleman (?)
James Walker (5:03 PM)
Well, one team went to the AFC title game last year. The other team went 5-11.
Sam (Dayton, OH)
How much longer do you expect Dhani Jones to play as a formidable player at ILB? He's getting up there in age and I would've hoped the Bengals would have drafted a potential replacement this year
James Walker (5:05 PM)
The Bengals already have Jones' replacement on the roster in Rey Maualuga. He has the natural instincts to play middle linebacker, just needs to keep learning the game and stay out of trouble.
melissa (steel city) [via mobile]
Hey JW. Do you agree that the bengals, steelers, and ravens need more depth at QB? They all have sure starters but not much behind.
James Walker (5:08 PM)
I disgree. The Steelers and Ravens are very deep at quarterback, IMO. I'm surprised Troy Smith is still in Baltimore and didn't go somewhere else, and the Steelers have three backups now with starting experience. The Bengals could use some help behind Carson Palmer.
Average age of Steelers defensive line will be well over 30+, what is the plan? Hope they don't get tired?
James Walker (5:11 PM)
This is why I thought the Steelers should not have gone OLB with three picks this year. It just wasn't a big enough need, even if some players turn out to be solid. This was a rare year for stud DL in the draft and Pittsburgh didn't get anyone of significance there to help.
Jenny (pittsburgh) [via mobile]
JW, which quarterback in the division was most helped in this draft? Flacco or palmer?
James Walker (5:14 PM)
Hmm...tough question. I would lean towards Carson Palmer since Cicinnati spent its first-round pick on the best TE in the draft.
how long do you expect Colt McCoy to carry the clipboard one or two years. i know Holmgren pushed this pick and with Delhomme getting 7mil from the Browns plus his salary from Carolina he is the obvious starter
James Walker (5:15 PM)
I don't expect to see McCoy play for at least a full year. Even if Jake Delhomme gets injured, it looks like Seneca Wallace is the No. 2 in Cleveland.
James Walker (5:17 PM)
Eveyone, thanks for your patience and time this week. Remember to continue to check out the AFC North blog for the latest in the division.