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Ranking AFC North rosters after the 2020 NFL Draft: Offense

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How do your favorite Steelers compare to the rest of the division?

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL Draft is now complete!

...Meaning we enter the time of speculation between now and whenever the NFL allows teams to practice together.

So, as teams put the finishing touches on their 90-man roster, I’ve attempted to objectively rank and compare each AFC North team’s positional groups to the others. I’ve only mentioned players that have a good chance of starting or being primary depth - UDFA’s don’t have much of an affect on the rankings as of right now.

Quarterbacks

  1. Baltimore Ravens (Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorely).
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger, Mason Rudolph, Devlin Hodges).
  3. Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield, Garrett Gilbert).
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Burrow, Ryan Finley, Andy Dalton).

Whether you love or hate Lamar Jackson, he was undeniably the best quarterback in the AFC North last year, and managed to win league MVP as well. Roethlisberger, who has been number one on this list for seemingly forever, takes the second spot as he hopes for a comeback season in 2020. Mayfield disappointed last year, giving him the bronze, while Joe Burrow remains unproven and stuck in last place for now.

Will this ranking change anytime soon?

Probably, as Joe Burrow is too good to be in last place for long. However, the Bengals aren't doing his development any favors by being, well, the Bengals. I expect the top two to stay the same until Roethlisberger retires, as Jackson, barring injury, doesn't seem to be slowing down, and Roethlisberger isn't getting any younger.

Poll

Where do you think the Steeler’s quarterbacks rank in the AFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    First
    (1075 votes)
  • 43%
    Second
    (1305 votes)
  • 13%
    Third
    (393 votes)
  • 6%
    Fourth
    (200 votes)
2973 votes total Vote Now

Running Backs

  1. Ravens (Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill, Gus Edwards).
  2. Browns (Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Montreal Hilliard).
  3. Bengals (Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Trayveon Williams).
  4. Steelers (James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr.).

The Ravens take the cake with an explosive top four in Ingram/Dobbins/Hill/Edwards, with the Brown’s dynamic Chubb/Hunt combo not far behind. Joe Mixon remains an underrated stud within the Bengal’s stagnant offense, while the Steelers come in last with an injury-prone starter and unproven depth.

Will this ranking change anytime soon?

The Ravens and Browns are 1a and 1b, which means that the two running back rooms will be neck-and-neck all season. A healthy James Conner might be able to push Mixon for the top spot, but it looks as if the running back hierarchy won’t change much in 2020.

Poll

Where do you think the Steeler’s running backs rank in the AFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    First
    (138 votes)
  • 11%
    Second
    (313 votes)
  • 35%
    Third
    (981 votes)
  • 47%
    Fourth
    (1303 votes)
2735 votes total Vote Now

Wide Receivers

  1. Browns (Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, KhaDarel Hodge).
  2. Steelers (Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, James Washington, Chase Claypool).
  3. Bengals (A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Auden Tate, John Ross).
  4. Ravens (Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, Willie Snead, James Proche, Devin Duvenray).

The AFC North has excellent wide receivers in 2020, led by the Pro-Bowl talent of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry of the Browns. The Steelers come in second, with a deep top four. The Bengals, led by oft-injured veteran A.J. Green, come in third with some promising depth in Boyd and Higgins, while the Raven’s young core comes in last with respectable talent.

Will this ranking change anytime soon?

With Ben Roethlisberger back, the Steeler’s wide receivers have the talent to challenge for the top spot on the rankings, but for now they play second fiddle to the Brown’s star-studded duo. The Ravens and Bengals both have promising receivers, but besides A.J. Green, their skill and talent are largely unproven.

Poll

Where do you think the Steeler’s wide receivers rank in the AFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    First
    (975 votes)
  • 35%
    Second
    (965 votes)
  • 20%
    Third
    (559 votes)
  • 7%
    Fourth
    (214 votes)
2713 votes total Vote Now

Tight Ends

  1. Ravens (Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Charles Scarff).
  2. Steelers (Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, Zach Gentry).
  3. Browns (Austin Hooper, David Njoku, Stephen Carlson, Harrison Bryant).
  4. Bengals (C.J. Uzomah, Mason Shrek, Drew Sample).

In perhaps the hardest positional groups to rank, the Ravens take the first spot with the talented Mark Andrews, backed up by the solid Nick Boyle. The Steelers take second place, with new weapon Eric Ebron and an inconsistent vertical threat in Vance McDonald. The Browns land narrowly behind, with their new arrival Austin Hooper and the athletic-yet-underwhelming David Njoku. The Bengals land in fourth place with C.J. Uzomah and some weak depth behind him.

Will this ranking change anytime soon?

The top three are separated by a narrow margin, meaning that quarterback play might be the deciding factor in which team fields the best tight ends.

Poll

Where do you think the Steeler’s tight ends rank in the AFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    First
    (1091 votes)
  • 32%
    Second
    (824 votes)
  • 19%
    Third
    (486 votes)
  • 6%
    Fourth
    (156 votes)
2557 votes total Vote Now

Offensive Tackles

  1. Ravens (Orlando Brown, Ronnie Stanley, Andre Smith).
  2. Browns (Jack Conklin, Jedrick Wills, Chris Hubbard).
  3. Steelers (Alejandro Villanueva, Matt Feiler, Zach Banner, Chuks Okorafor).
  4. Bengals (Jonah Williams, Bobby Hart, Isaiah Prince).

The Ravens have excellent tackles on both ends of their line, and the Browns have surprisingly managed to put together what looks to be a solid offensive line in 2020. The Steelers have a Pro-Bowler in Villenueva, but his play seems to be regressing. The other side of Villenueva is a mystery, as Matt Feiler might be moved to guard, leaving Zach Banner and Chuks Okorafor to compete for the right tackle position. The Bengals have a 2019 top-10 pick in Jonah Williams, who was injured for all of last year as their best tackle, and the rest of their depth looks less than stellar.

Will this ranking change anytime soon?

Unless Jedrick Wills turns into a massive bust, or Jonah Williams duplicates himself, it doesn't look as if the tackle position rankings will change much during the 2020 season.

Poll

Where do you think the Steeler’s offensive tackles rank in the AFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    First
    (567 votes)
  • 39%
    Second
    (877 votes)
  • 28%
    Third
    (642 votes)
  • 7%
    Fourth
    (159 votes)
2245 votes total Vote Now

Interior Offensive Line

  1. Ravens (Matt Skura, Bradley Bozeman, Ben Bredeson, Patrick Mekari, Tyre Phillips).
  2. Steelers (Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Stefen Wisniewski, Kevin Dotson).
  3. Browns (J.C. Tretter, Joe Bitonio, Wyatt Teller, Nick Harris).
  4. Bengals (Michael Jordan, Billy Price, Trey Hopkins, Hakeem Adeniji, Fred Johnson).

The Ravens lost Marshal Yanda to retirement, but still wield a fearsome offensive line. The Steelers follow with two Pro Bowlers in David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey, with Wisniewski and Dotson as quality depth/starters as well. Joe Bitonio on the Browns remains one of the best at his position, while the Bengals look to be fielding a rag-tag bunch in the trenches for another year.

Will this ranking change anytime soon?

If Pouncey can play at a high level in 2020, the Steelers have a chance at upsetting the Ravens at the top. Besides that, it looks as if the rankings will stay the same throughout the upcoming season.

Poll

Where do you think the Steeler’s interior offensive line ranks in the AFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    First
    (1692 votes)
  • 17%
    Second
    (405 votes)
  • 4%
    Third
    (111 votes)
  • 3%
    Fourth
    (88 votes)
2296 votes total Vote Now

Going into this ranking process, I was expecting the Steelers to come out on top in at least one of the categories, but there was always one team that jumped out in front. However, Pittsburgh is still fielding a respectable offense that has a shot at drastically improving this season.

On the other hand, I expect the Steelers to dominate when the time comes for defensive rankings.

Stay tuned to BTSC for more Steelers coverage, including part 2 of this series.