Friday quick hits

Some quick and random thoughts before everyone sneaks out of the office for the weekend…

**Today is the day, per reports, that Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden flies to Texas for last-minute, follow-up workouts with quarterbacks Christian Ponder of Florida State and Andy Dalton of TCU. There have been lots of Dalton/Bengals rumors floating lately, which lends a little credence to the theory one AFC front-office type threw at me this week: “Jay Gruden, if he’s anything like his brother, is enjoying all these elaborate smokescreens.” We know the Bengals are going to draft a quarterback next Thursday or Friday. That’s about all we know, and it seems the Bengals enjoy being one of the draft’s most unpredictable teams.

**The Ravens and Steelers enjoy being among the best drafters in the league, and their plans this year figure to be no different. The Ravens need corners, speed at receiver and a pass-rusher but will take the best available player(s) at just about any position except quarterback and running back early on. The Ravens also love to target a handful of players and aren’t afraid to trade up or down to get them. The Steelers need corners and offensive line help, but something tells me they’re going to sit tight and hope Cameron Heyward falls to them. He’d be an almost perfect fit as a 3-4 defensive end and a guy who could play inside in certain packages.

**Just a guess here based on a gut feeling, but I don’t think the Ravens will have a chance to move up and get Colorado CB Jimmy Smith because I think the Lions will take him at #13.

**This isn’t an AFC North note, per se, but it does pertain to an Ohio draft prospect. The Saints are due in Alliance today to work out Mount Union wide receiver Cecil Shorts (Cleveland Collinwood HS). I have a feature coming on Shorts this weekend and much more next week on all the Ohio draft prospects.

–Zac Jackson