In today's edition of Around the AFC North, we take a look at whether Cam Newton would be a good fit for the Cincinnati Bengals, the key free agent decisions Pittsburgh will have to make, and why our Baltimore blogger says that Pittsburgh's luck finally ran out in the Super Bowl.
Over at Cincy Jungle, the question is asked on whether quarterback Cam Newton would be a possibility at No. 4 overall for the Bengals, even ahead of Blaine Garrett:
Blaine Gabbert has scared a lot of NFL draft analysts because he's never played in a pro-style offense and the transition from the spread offense to a pro-style one can be rough, especially for a rookie quarterback. While he possesses the size of a typical NFL quarterback (6'5" 235 lbs), he may have a hard time making the necessary transition to play in the NFL, especially if he were forced into a situation where he would have to start his rookie season, which could possibly happen in Cincinnati.
Newton also has a Roethlisberger-sized NFL quarterback build (6'6" 250 lbs), and he's also proven that he has the legs to move that big body around if he needs to. He's shown impressive arm strength and passing accuracy as well as the ability to shed tackles and move in and outside of the pocket. Also, with Cincinnati's below average offensive line, Newton may have the ability to stretch out some plays that would have ended in a sack. I personally think that if Newton continues impressing people with the workouts he's been having, he could easily find himself on the Bengals radar.
Drafting a quarterback would complete the quadrangle of four young starting quarterbacks in the AFC North. After 543 votes on Cincy Jungle, 47% of fans believe the Bengals should draft Newton at fourth overall. I still envision Carson Palmer returning to the team next season, but a quarterback wouldn't be a terrible choice for Cincinnati.
Among the free agents the Steelers will have to make a decision on? Linebacker LaMar Woodley and cornerback Ike Taylor are the most prominent names. Most fans are hoping the Steelers are able to slap the franchise tag on Woodley, with him then becoming a free agent in 2012 and being overpaid by some other team in the league.
Over at Baltimore Beatdown, Bruce Raffel believes the Steelers' luck finally ran out in the Super Bowl, as something that plagued them all season finally came back to bite them:
However, in Super Bowl XLV, the Steelers "luck" finally ran out. Pittsburgh had routinely allowed teams to take a seemingly insurmountable lead, only to watch the black & yellow storm back and win the game in the final moments. Super Bowl 43 was a perfect example of this when they scored with seconds left be the Arizona Cardinals. Even the Green Bay Packers had been part of one of these situations, when in 2009, Ben Roethlisberger found rookie Mike Wallace along the sideline of the end zone for the winning TD on the game's final play.