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 (4:01 PM)
Hello, everyone. Let's chat about the AFC North.
Russ (Bowling Green)
Julio Jones has been climbing up draft boards. Is he to much of a reach at #6 for the Browns? Would he be a good fit in the West Coast Offense?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
Jones could fit in the West Coast offense or any offense, IMO. He's that good. He's a potential target for the Browns if A.J. Green goes off the board early. But I don't feel the Browns should take a WR that high, especially if it's not the top-rated player at the position.
If Cincy passes on a qb in the 1st round and in the 2nd round, Mallet,Dalton, and Ponder are gone, would they trade down or just select the next best qb?
James Walker (4:07 PM)
I wrote about this last week, that it may be necessary for the Bengals to move up to get a QB they covet. The problem is the Bengals are not a heavy-trading team, especially in the first round. I'm not excactly sure why. But they need to erase that trend this year if quarterbacks are flying off the board early. Depending on how sincere you thinkg Carson Palmer is, quarterback can easily be Cincinnati's biggest need.
Jason Maxwell (Pittsburgh,PA)
Hey James I was just wondering if you had to pick a city to relocate an NFL franchise or maybe expansion what city comes to mind?
James Walker (4:09 PM)
I seem to get asked this question every week. But I think Los Angeles is next in line to get an NFL team. It's a huge, top-five market and has every other major sport there. So why not the NFL?
So will McCoy be the starter next year?
James Walker (4:10 PM)
Yes, the Browns are comitted to Colt McCoy as the starter. They are encouraged by what they've seen, but also feel he needs to take some steps in the right direction next season.
If the ravens are looking for another pass rusher to go along with T.suggs why not draft Akeem Ayers?
James Walker (4:13 PM)
There are several good pass rushers, Alvin. Ayers is one of the deep group in the first round that also includes Ryan Kerrigan, Justin Houston and Cameron Heyward. This is a good year for those specialists.
what are the chances that the Pouncey brothers are re-united in Pittsburgh?
James Walker (4:14 PM)
I don't see it, Alex, barring a trade. But Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said yesterday that Pittsburgh is open to trading the 31st pick to land a coveted player.
Mike (Acworth, GA)
Do the Steelers Go To the Slate with Power in this years draft? I'm thinking a trade up is imminent.
James Walker (4:17 PM)
"Imminent" is a pretty strong word, Mike. I would say the Steelers are "open" to trading up. History shows that Pittsburgh in recent years is more likely to trade up to get a player in the first round (Troy Polamalu, Santonio Holmes) than down.
Dave (Athens Ohio)
How much of an impact will Montario Hardesty have this year, if healthy?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
It depends on his health. The Browns are encouraged by Hardesty's progress and certainly would have a role for him behind Peyton Hillis. But the knee is not 100 percent yet. The expectation is he will be ready for training camp in August.
Could you see the Bengals taking Andy Dalton with the 4th pick with the Titans looking to pick him at 8?
James Walker (4:21 PM)
The Bengals have done some head-scratching things with personnel in the past. But they won't take Andy Dalton with the fourth pick.
steve (great neck, ny)
How do you see the Browns' draft going? Do they trade up? Where does Peterson fit into their plans?
James Walker (4:24 PM)
The Browns are much more likely to trade down in this draft or stay put, Steve. A good player should fall to them at No. 6, especially if there is an early run on QBs in the top five. That should give Cleveland the option to entertain trade offers or keep the pick. I won't be surprised either way.
Will we ever know the reason for Carson Palmer trade demands?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
There are several things, John, that I won't get into during this chat. But the overall reason I'm told is Carson Palmer just doesn't believe in the organization's ability to build a consistent winner anymore. Palmer is getting closer to the end of his career, and he doesn't want to be part of another 2-4 year rebuilding process that may or may not work.
Do you think Andy Dalton will be a Bengal?
James Walker (4:30 PM)
The Bengals are interested in Andy Dalton, as is probably a dozen other teams. So you can do the math from there. It's no slam dunks in the NFL draft.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
What is your prediction for the biggest surprise on Thursday night?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
I haven't really thought about that too much. Last year it was Tim Tebow going in the first round, so I would assume something similar. Maybe a QB will go higher than expected again this year.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
I'm no doctor, but I have to wonder if at some point the players don't become significantly more prone to injury with the missing of camps, workouts, etc. Any thoughts?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
It's certainly a possibility, Richard. Physical conditioning is a big part of preventing injuries, especially muscle injuries. It will be up to the individual players to stay in great shape on their own so it won't feel like they're going from 0 to 60 in training camp. But teams should be aware of this.
Dan (Cleveland, OH)
What are the odds that we see Matt Roth and/or Marcus Benard move to DE now that the Browns are running a 4-3? and if they move, how successful do you think they can be?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
Matt Roth is a free agent. So the Browns can't even consider that option unless they re-sign him. Bernard is a solid pass rusher, perhaps the best the Browns have right now. But I'm not sure he's an every-down player as a 4-3 DE, especially against the run. It's early, but I'd assume the Browns plan to use "King Kong" as a situational player.
What is your prediction for each team's record this year?
James Walker (4:45 PM)
It's too early to say, Carolyn, because the rosters are far from complete before the draft and free agency. But I have said at this point that the Ravens and Steelers will battle for the top spot again while the Browns and Bengals remain at least a couple years away. The goal for both Ohio teams this year is to be more competitive and start closing the gap this year.
Randy (Twinsburg, Oh)
If the QB's are not taken early are the Browns in a bad spot a 6?
James Walker (4:48 PM)
Not at all. This would actually be ideal. There will be no shortage of teams willing to trade up and give the Browns more picks. Teams like Washington, Minnesota and Miami all need QBs.
Is Peyton Hillis a one year wonder or is he going strengthen his dominance?
James Walker (4:51 PM)
Depends if Hillis wins the Madden tournament this week.
James Walker (4:51 PM)
If the Buccaneers release Aqib Talib should the ravens maybe take a shot at him?
James Walker (4:53 PM)
I expect most teams to stay away from Talib for the time being, at least to let the legal process play out and for him to get his act together. He is very talented. But Talib can't help any team if he's suspended by the league and constantly facing legal troubles.
James, could the bengals target someone like kapernick in the 3rd rd someone who is mobile and a strong arm in the north and could scramble out of the pocket while being blitzed by the steelers and ravens......
James Walker (4:54 PM)
I'm not as high on Colin as other people are. I'm not sure he's going to turn out to be a great NFL QB. I think the Bengals should go for a QB in the first two rounds who have fewer questions.
Kyle (Oxford, OH)
Is there any chance that we see more wildcat with the west coast offense next year for the browns?
James Walker (4:57 PM)
New head coach Pat Shurmur is not a proponent of the Wildcat. He may include a package just to get Josh Cribbs involved. But I don't think it's something he wants to build around. The West Coast offense is based on reps, timing and precision. The Browns probably feel taking Colt McCoy in and out the game like that could mess with his rhythm.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for your time this week. Remember to check out the AFC North blog and AFC North Twitter for constant updates on the division. Enjoy the NFL draft.