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AFC North newcomers to watch in 2018

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NFL: Cleveland Browns-Minicamp Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2018 season, the Ravens are looking to end a five-year divisional championship drought. At the same time, the Bengals are aiming to bring back their 2015 crown, the Browns are chasing their first AFC North title and the Steelers are in pursuit of a three-peat. Below are some new faces suiting up for divisional opponents that could make an impact on the race.

Veterans

After a productive four years in Miami, the Dolphins traded wide receiver Jarvis Landry to the Browns for a 2018 fourth-round pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick this offseason. Landry recently spoke to NFL Network, saying “we didn’t really have a good relationship anyway,” in reference to his former quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Landry will look to form a better connection with rookie Baker Mayfield after falling short of a 1,000 yard season (despite recording his highest single-season touchdown total) with an injury-ridden Miami quarterback room in 2017.

Signed in March by the Pittsburgh Steelers, linebacker Jon Bostic is joining his fifth team in his six NFL seasons. For the Colts in 2017, Bostic recorded a career-high 97 combined tackles after missing all of the 2016 season with a foot injury. While Bostic is not being billed as a solution for the loss of Ryan Shazier, he told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette that he is a three-down backer, and he is confident in his versatile abilities.

Rookies

With the first overall pick in this year’s draft, the Browns hedged their bets on Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield. As a Heisman trophy winner, Mayfield’s big stage experience and productivity sold the Cleveland front office on his ability to lead an NFL team to success. However, he will have to continue to debunk the narrative surrounding his stature and prove he has the maturity to be the face of a franchise that has been drowning in mediocrity.

Wide receiver James Washington, a fellow Big 12 alumnus from Oklahoma State, was selected 60th overall by Pittsburgh in this year’s draft. In his senior season, Washington averaged 20.9 yards on 74 receptions, which was tops nationally among wideouts with 50 or more receptions. With a 4.54 40-yard dash time, he is known for his build up speed, and he could become a strong WR2 for the Steelers.

Named the nation’s top center in 2017, the Bengals drafted Billy Price out of Ohio State with 21st overall pick this April. Price suffered a torn pec performing the bench press at the NFL Combine this winter, but he is expected to be cleared for play this month. Tying a school-record of 55 straight starts with the Buckeyes, the Bengals anticipate that Price will make an immediate impact on their offensive line.