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)
Hello one and all. Let's chat once again about the AFC North. I'm here to answer your questions.
Mark (OC, MD) [via mobile]
Do you foresee David Reed being anything more than another Yamon Figurs?
James Walker (4:01 PM)
If David Reed turns out to be Yamon Figurs, who was a good return guy for several years, I think Baltimore will be happy. Keep in mind, Reed was a late-round pick. Figurs was a second-rounder I believe. The expectations are not nearly as high for Reed.
JW - clearly you hold history in high regards when making your "toughest stadium" selection. I encourage you to try and find a team with a better home record than the Ravens the last two years, wait...you can't...way to snub your own division
James Walker (4:03 PM)
Read more carefully, Andy. I voted M&T Bank Stadium No. 8 in my personal ballot. I think it deserved to be in the top 10. But in the total tally it finished No. 13.
James, what are the chances of Hardesty getting much playing time in Cle this year with Hillis becoming so valueable?
James Walker (4:05 PM)
Montario Hardesty first has to prove that he can stay healthy. From there, I think that will determine his workload and playing time. The Browns were really excited about him last year before his injury. But sometimes it takes a couple years to fully come back from torn ACLs. So the Browns are being cautiously optimistic.
Jimmy Smith (Baltimore)
Jonathan who? I, Jimmy Smith, am the best corner in the AFCN, don't you agree JW
James Walker (4:07 PM)
I need to see you play at least a few NFL games first, Jimmy. But I like your confidence. Stay out of trouble this summer, OK? The Ravens are really counting on you this year.
Anthony F. (Toledo, OH)
Can you see the Browns sneaking into a wild card spot this year? I know its a tough division but I really like their schedule
James Walker (4:09 PM)
Every week, you all are trying to pry predictions out of me before free agency. Right now I don't view the Browns as a playoff team. It's going to be really hard to overcome the Steelers or Ravens, and it's rare that three teams make it from the same division.
JW - If the lockout were to delay training camp, who has the edge game 1: Ravens vs Steelers
James Walker (4:10 PM)
I think both teams are about even. The Ravens do have a new defensive coordinator (Chuck Pagano) but he was there last year and knows the personnel.
Jason (Albany, NY)
What do you realistically think the chances are of the Steelers signing Richard Marshall in free agency, if Taylor doesn't want to come back? Also who do you think is the (realistic)highest profile corner in FA that the steelers might consider (once again if Taylor doesn't resign)?
James Walker (4:13 PM)
It's too hard to say during the lockout because teams aren't talking about free agents. But Marshall is the type of signing where it would provide a solid player at a reasonable price. Plus, he's younger than Taylor. I don't see Pittsburgh signing any high-profile corners. An under-the-radar guy like Marshall or Taylor coming back are about as high-profile as Pittsburgh will get in free agency this year.
Will the Browns go after any big name players in free agency? if so who?
James Walker (4:15 PM)
We mentioned a couple of big-name targets recently in DE Ray Edwards and S Donte Whitner. Both have Ohio ties, which helps, and plays a position of need for the Browns.
Michael H (San Antonio)
Have any plans if the lockout extends into the regualr season? Maybe dancing lessons or boxing in your future?
James Walker (4:17 PM)
I think I'm going to try bullriding and see if I can last longer than Ochocinco. I feel I have a decent shot.
agree or diasgree, Ravens should let mcgahee leave and resign Leron
James Walker (4:19 PM)
If I were the Ravens I would cut Willis McGahee, see if he wants to come back at a reduced rate, and sign Lawrence Vickers to replace Le'Ron McClain. I like McClain, but he's set on getting more carries next season. I would prefer to have the ball in Rice's hands and have a guy like Vickers create big holes for Rice to run through.
Who do you see as the starters at WR for the Browns? How likely is it that they will start Little?
James Walker (4:22 PM)
Greg Little has a chance, but right now you have to give the edge to Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi. Little hasn't played football in more than a year.
If Ike Taylor leaves the Steelers that would leave us with William Gay and Bryant McFadden as our starting corners!!!! FML . Unless the rookies the Steelers drafted come out and win at least one of the starting spots. Either way without a healthy Troy Polamalu, the Steelers won't repeat as AFC North or AFC Champs.
James Walker (4:25 PM)
William Gay also is a free agent and may not return. That would leave McFadden and a lot of youngsters competing for the other starting job unless Pittsburgh signs a corner in free agency. I think the Steelers would, but it won't be a big name.
Logan (Michigan )
Hello James today is my Brithday and do you think the Dolphins will cut or trade Brandon Marshall.
James Walker (4:27 PM)
Happy birthday, Logan. I don't see Miami cutting or trading Brandon Marshall. The Dolphins just invested a lot of money into him last year.
Hey, James. Where do you see Jonathan Joseph ending up next season? As a Steelers fan I'd love to see him in black and gold, but I doubt it. What's your opinion?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
It's hard to pick a team at this point. But I don't think Joseph will land in the AFC North.
John Finley (Easley SC)
Good afternoon Mr. Walker...My quesiton is...what is the chance after the lockout that Holmgren and Company will go after Plex????By the way its great to have you back.
James Walker (4:30 PM)
John, a "Homer of the Week" alum! How are you? If Plaxico Burress lands anywhere in the AFC North, Cleveland has the best chance to make a push. But overall, I see Burress going somewhere else, maybe Philadephia.
Michael H (San Antonio)
You mentioned Massaquoi, Robiskie, and Little fighting for the #1 receiver spot. How do you feel about last year's draft pick Carlton Mitchell getting in on that fight?
James Walker (4:32 PM)
Mitchell has become a popular player in Cleveland for some reason. He has some good size, but I haven't seen enough from him to believe he can be a starter next season.
Odds Andy Dalton starts opening day?
James Walker (4:33 PM)
Hmmm 80 percent. It depends on how much you trust Mike Brown's word and Carson Palmer's word. I believe both will stick to their guns.
James, I'm a little concerned with the depth at LB on the Browns, two of our three projected starters have a history with injury and aging quckly. Are there any mid level free agents you know of that they might pursue when FA gets rolling again?
James Walker (4:36 PM)
Yes, the Browns do lack depth at linebacker and it's something I'm sure they will address in free agency. Cleveland has depth issues all over, but I thought it did a good job of filling some of the bigger holes in the draft.
Does Steelers OLB-Jason Worilds win a starting gig next season? If not, does he ever?
James Walker (4:37 PM)
Barring injury, there is no place for Worilds to start. Who would you bench? James Harrison? LaMarr Woodley? Worilds will have to wait his turn.
Do you think this could finally be one of those drafts where Baltimore can produce a high quality WR?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I haven't seen it yet. But the Ravens hope Torrey Smith is the guy who breaks the streak.
Kovacs (Santa Monica)
Do think it's more likely that Browns spend big money on a safety and let Sheldon Brown play opposite Joe Haden or go get a corner (JJo, Cromartie) and move Sheldon to safety?
James Walker (4:40 PM)
The Browns say they have no intention of moving Sheldon Brown to safety. I don't think Brown wants to move there either. Maybe if an injury takes place, but right now the plan is to keep Brown at corner.
Steve (Tyner, N.C.)
In your humble opinion, do you think the Browns will re-sign Vickers or will they let him go. As far as I'm concerned Vickers is just one of the very few true fullbacks in this league and it would be a shame to let him walk!
James Walker (4:42 PM)
I talked to Lawrence Vickers a few weeks ago and he believes he's gone. The writing is pretty much on the wall. The Browns drafted a fullback and didn't tender Vickers.
Pat S (Milwaukee)
With both tackles comming back from injury & also their secound round pick (Gilbert) don't you think the Steelers offensive line is better next year ?
James Walker (4:44 PM)
A healthy Max Starks is going to be huge for Pittsburgh. He's not an elite left tackle but he's the best tackle Pittsburgh has. Gilbert should provide good depth behind Starks and Flozell Adams.
Sean N (Maumee, OH)
Why does it seem as though Matt Roth will not be in Cleveland next year? Especially when CLE knows that DE in freeagency is skinny this year
James Walker (4:45 PM)
Roth doesn't want to be there. He was unhappy with the Browns last year when he didn't get a long-term extension and now he's free to go elsewhere. Roth also said he wants to play for a contender next year, which the Browns are not.
If the season is shortened to 8 games, who do you see coming out on top of the AFC North?
James Walker (4:47 PM)
I haven't thought about it. Hopefully, it doesn't come down to that.
What kind of year do you see DE-Carlos Dunlap having next season? Think 14 or 15 sacks are possible? I mean he had 9 in spot duty as a rookie.
James Walker (4:50 PM)
Teams will pay more attention to Dunlap this year. So he could face more double-teams, which would hurt his numbers. Still, a goal for double-digit sacks is not out of the question.
If Colt McCoy fails as the Browns Quarterback and if they get a high draft pick, would they draft Andrew Luck.
James Walker (4:51 PM)
The Browns would probably need the No. 1 pick in 2012 to draft Andrew Luck. Otherwise, they're out of luck.
nick (new york)
If the ravens can add another decent option in the pass rush, do you think Suggs numbers will get a good boost?
James Walker (4:52 PM)
Terrell Suggs faces a lot of double-teams and doesn't get the credit he deserves for still putting up solid sack numbers. Another option may not decrease the double-teams for Suggs. But it would help the defense overall be more flexible in getting to the quarterback.
Michael H (San Antonio)
"The Browns would probably need the No. 1 pick in 2012 to draft Andrew Luck. Otherwise, they're out of luck."Please tell me that luck pun was accidental. I died a little inside when I read that
James Walker (4:55 PM)
It was intentional. But wouldn't you rather your Browns win some games next year and Colt McCoy to be the guy anyway?
If you had to pick a franchise QB right now from the AFCN, does Roethlisberger automatically get the bid or do you have to think about it?
James Walker (4:56 PM)
It's automatic. Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers is heads and shoulders better than any quarterback in the division right now.
jason (ne GA)
what on earth makes ravens fans think they can EVER climb the hill that is the STEELERS? lmao. go STEELERS!!!
James Walker (4:59 PM)
Jason, the Ravens have been very close lately. Week 1 will be a huge game to set the tone for 2011, particularly for Baltimore.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone thanks again for your time. Remember to check out the AFC North blog and AFC North Twitter for constant updates.