AFC North News: All Division Preseason Offensive Guards

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 18: Jason Jones #91 of the Tennessee Titans and Marshal Yanda #73 of the Baltimore Ravens grab each other while blocking at the LP Field on September 18, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Ravens 26 to 13. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The All Division Preseason Team was chosen based on performance in 2011, projected success in 2012 and extraneous factors, such as potential, opportunity and overall talent. Positions are taken generally, meaning there won't necessarily be one right tackle and one left tackle, but there will be two offensive tackles.

Two teams selected offensive guards in the first round of the 2011 draft (the Steelers took David DeCastro, the Bengals took Kevin Zeitler), and the Ravens gave a big extension to another one - RG Marshal Yanda.

The position is rising in value around the league, and the AFC North is clearly showing its following that trend.

OG Marshal Yanda - Baltimore Ravens

Despite playing next to two players who are sagging in performance (RT Michael Oher) and age (C Matt Birk), Yanda is still as effective as most guards in terms of his individual execution. The zone blocking scheme the Ravens ran at times last season is tailor-made for Yanda's vision and lateral quickness, and it helped RB Ray Rice to another big season.

OG Willie Colon - Steelers

In 2009, Colon was one of the best right tackles in football, but even then he was probably playing out of position. With shorter arms and a stockier build, it seemed Colon was a more natural guard. He excelled as a right tackle for the offensive line-talent starved Steelers. Despite two season-ending injuries in his next two seasons, Colon did make the move to guard this offseason, and has looked impressive so far.

Honorable Mention

OG Bobbie Williams - Baltimore Ravens

Williams missed a good chunk of the 2011 season when he was with the Bengals, sitting four games for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing supplements, and an ankle injury. The Ravens had a hole at left guard due to the loss of Ben Grubbs, so his signing with the Ravens makes a lot of sense. The question is, will he be healthy enough to maintain his spot over rookie Kelechi Osemele?

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