AFC North minicamp preview: Bengals, Browns aiming high

Joe Sargent

The defending Super Bowl champions will take to the field for the first time for OTAs, but they won't exactly look like the team that won it all. Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland will also begin offseason workouts soon.

Fresh off their win in Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens will soon be back on the field as they begin preparations to defend their Super Bowl title. It was a busy offseason for the Ravens who once again compete in a competitive AFC North.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns are chasing the Ravens and all three will also begin organized workouts soon. All four teams have undergone change this offseason with some familiar faces in new places. Here is a look at the offseason schedule for the AFC North.

Baltimore Ravens

OTA: May 21-23, May 29-31, June 4-7

Rookie minicamp: May 3-5

Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

The Ravens open offseason workouts as the defending champions, but they will do so without Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and a handful of other notable names. Joe Flacco will still be under center after signing a six-year extension, but the Ravens will have a number of new players in key roles.

Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff, Marcus Spears and Chris Canty will be among the players wearing a Ravens' jersey for the first time. Baltimore will rely on a few rookies this season and while Matt Elam, Arthur Brown and others already went through rookie minicamp, they will soon practice with the full cast of veterans.

For more on the Ravens, head over to Baltimore Beatdown

Cincinnati Bengals

OTA: May 21-23, May 28-30, June 3-6

Rookie minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

Cincinnati opens OTAs coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, but the Bengals are still looking for their first playoff win since 1990. The Bengals had a productive offseason, signing their key free agents while adding a few solid pieces through free agency and the NFL Draft.

After nine seasons in Pittsburgh, James Harrison will take the field as a Bengal for the first time when OTAs begin on May 21. In addition to Harrison, a number of rookies will make their Cincinnati debuts this month, headlined by first-round pick tight end Tyler Eifert and second-round running back Giovani Bernard.

For more on the Bengals, head over to Cincy Jungle

Cleveland Browns

OTA: May 14-16, May 21-23, May 28-31

Rookie minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory minicamp: June 4-6

The Browns underwent more change than any of their division counterparts as the Rob Chudzinski era is set to begin in Cleveland. The new coaching staff will bring a new look to Cleveland and a few players will make their Browns' practice debuts. Paul Kruger jumped from Baltimore to Cleveland while No. 6 overall pick Barkevious Mingo will also draw plenty of attention in workouts.

Although a few new names will draw headlines, two long-time Browns will not be present. After being among the most recognizable Browns in recent history, Josh Cribbs and Phil Dawson are no longer on the roster. This will be the first OTAs without Dawson since the team re-joined the NFL in 1999.

For more on the Browns, head over the Dawgs by Nature

Pittsburgh Steelers

OTA: May 21-23, May 28-30, June 3-6

Rookie minicamp: May 3-5

Mandatory minicamp: June 11-13

After missing the postseason last year, the Steelers open offseason workouts attempting to avoid their first back-to-back stretch without making the playoffs since 1999-00. The majority of key pieces return for Pittsburgh, but there will be a few holes to fill.

Harrison is off to Pittsburgh while Mike Wallace signed a lucrative deal with the Miami Dolphins. The Steelers weren't very active in free agency, but a handful of rookies could play major roles when OTAs begin on May 21. Linebacker Jarvis Jones, running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Markus Wheaton could all see plenty of action and possibly start this season.

For more on the Steelers, head over to Behind the Steel Curtain

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