While there is very little to like about any of the other teams in the AFC North, not all the players on their rosters are without talent. And as much as their abilities are somewhat tainted by wearing the uniform of a Pittsburgh Steelers divisional rival, there are still one or two names who would look good in the Black and Gold.
Looking through the roster list of each team, there are several names who have become so synonymous with a hated rival that the thought of them in Pittsburgh is enough to turn your stomach. But if we were able to add one player from each team in the AFC North in 2019, these are the three we would pick.
Baltimore Ravens - Justin Tucker
Given the struggles of Chris Boswell, there might be no player in the NFL who would improve the Steelers chances this year than the league’s best kicker. Automatic on extra points and virtually guaranteed on field goals under 50 yards, Tucker’s consistency is unmatched among his peers. Capable of making attempts as long as 60 yards look routine, the Ravens kicker has more range than any other player at his position.
The fact that he could have been signed by Pittsburgh in 2012 if he had accepted the Steelers invitation to come in for a tryout makes his success in Baltimore a little harder to accept.
Also considered: S, Earl Thomas
Cincinnati Bengals - A.J. Green
In a perfect world, A.J. Green would have been the ideal replacement for Antonio Brown this offseason. A polar opposite in terms of personality, Green is everything you look for in a wide receiver and more. Exceptional hands, good speed and a great route runner, the Cincinnati wideout might be one of the more underrated superstars in the league.
Injuries limited him to just nine games in 2018, but when healthy, Green is a perennial 1,200 yard plus receiver, even with the limited talents of quarterbacks like Andy Dalton throwing him the ball. A consummate professional who seems to lack the diva mentality of many of his peers, Green has been surprisingly loyal to the dumpster fire of the organisation that is the Bengals. He deserves to be with a better team.
Also considered: CB, William Jackson
Cleveland Browns - Denzel Ward
For possibly the first time in decades, it is not an instant pass when sifting through the names on the Browns roster. And while players like Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett might be the top options for some readers, in the context of who represents the most notable upgrade for Pittsburgh this year, the preference here is for young cornerback Denzel Ward.
An explosive player with great coverage skills and fantastic speed, Ward was everything you could hope for from the fourth overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. His two interceptions during his NFL debut against the Steelers should have given Pittsburgh fans a good indication of the talent he posses as well.
Also considered: DL, Myles Garrett
Let us know in the comments section below which names you would have chosen instead. Those of you screaming for Garrett over Ward probably have a good point.