In this series, Last Word on Sports will be analyzing the best players in each NFL division by position. This article will highlight the best offensive players the AFC North has to offer, in the AFC North All-Division Team.
2020 AFC North All-Division Team: The Offense
Quarterback: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
The AFC North is absolutely stacked with quarterbacks in 2020. Three Heisman winners and a first ballot Hall of Famer lead their respective teams into the 2020 season. Amongst these stars for the AFC North All-Division Team, is none other than Lamar Jackson. The reigning NFL MVP took the league by storm in 2019, passing for 3127 yards and 36 touchdowns. Combined with 1206 rushing yards, and seven rushing touchdowns, Jackson had a monstrous 2019 season.
Jackson possesses a truly unique skill set. His elusiveness in the run game, combined with his incredible arm strength allow him to play like no other player in the NFL today. His rare combination of speed and arm strength is something the league hasn’t seen since the days of Michael Vick or Robert Griffin III. Assuming Jackson can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for him. He aims to be the best quarterback in the AFC North for years to come.
Running Back: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Coming off of a Pro Bowl 2019 season, Nick Chubb heads into 2020 as the best running back in the AFC North. In his first two seasons in the NFL, Chubb has amassed 2490 yards with 16 rushing touchdowns. Chubb is an extremely explosive running back, and almost impossible to bring down in the open field.
The Browns have bolstered their offensive line over the off-season, signing former Tennessee Titans right tackle Jack Conklin. The team also drafted left tackle Jedrick Wills with the 10th overall pick in the 2020 draft. With the opportunity to run behind an improved Browns line, the sky is the limit for Nick Chubb. It would not be shocking if Chubb captures the rushing title in 2020.
Wide Receiver: Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
Although having an injury plagued last few seasons, Odell Beckham Jr is undoubtedly one of the best receivers in the NFL. With blazing fast speed, great hands and an extensive route tree, Beckham can do it all. Defenses constantly have to game-plan around him, as any given play can be a house call with Beckham. If the connection between him and quarterback Baker Mayfield can improve in 2020, Beckham has an incredibly high ceiling. As long as he can stay healthy, Beckham is without a doubt one of the most talented receivers in the NFL.
Wide Receiver: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Heading into his fourth NFL season, JuJu Smith-Schuster is primed for a bounce back year. After a difficult 2019 season, where the Steelers faced issues with quarterback stability, things seem to be churning at full speed ahead for the offense heading into 2020. Star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is back at the helm for the Steelers, and should give a well needed boost to the Steelers receiving corps.
Smith-Schuster is coming off of a career low 552 yards and three touchdowns in 2019. With Big Ben back in the picture, Smith-Schuster could be in for a big year. Smith-Schuster provides the Steelers with great strength at his position, and extremely reliable hands. Smith-Schuster is one of the most talented receivers for the AFC North All-Division Team, and could be in for a big 2020.
Wide Receiver: Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
Another member of the Browns wide receiver room, Jarvis Landry is one of the most reliable targets in the NFL. Landry is a true old school receiver in today’s NFL. He is physical, gritty, and not afraid to do the dirty work as a receiver. He possesses extremely strong hands, and an incredible ability to catch the football in traffic. Landry has been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls, and is one of the most versatile receiving weapons in the NFL.
Tight End: Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
In his short two year career, Mark Andrews has already established himself as one of the premiere tight ends in the NFL. Quickly emerging as Lamar Jackson’s favorite target, Andrews totaled over 850 yards in 2019, with a whopping 10 touchdowns. Andrews is extremely athletic for his size, and has some of the best hands at his position. He is a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators, and seemingly always finds a way to get open.
Left Tackle: Ronnie Stanley, Baltimore Ravens
The AFC North’s best left tackle is almost a no-brainer. Ronnie Stanley is one of the best tackles in the NFL, and further enforced this point with a tremendous 2019 season. As a former sixth overall pick in 2016, Stanley is an absolute mountain of a man. Standing at 6’6”, weighing 315 pounds, Stanley has the size, speed and agility to succeed as an offensive tackle at the pro level. Stanley excels at consistency and fundamentals, making him one of the most reliable tackles in the NFL.
Stanley is heading into the last year of his rookie deal in 2020, and will be in line for a massive contract extension after this season. Ravens fans will have to hope the team can reach a deal with Stanley, or he could hit the free agency market looking for a large pay check this off-season.
Left Guard: Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns
Over the past few years, the Browns offensive line has had some struggles. Per Pro Football Focus, the Browns had the 23rd ranked offensive line following the 2019 season. However, one of the bright spots on their offensive line has been Joel Bitonio. Bitonio has been a consistent presence on the Browns line since coming into the league in 2014. He has been selected to two straight Pro Bowls, and has been playing extremely solid football over the past few years.
The Browns made some big improvements to their offensive line over the off-season. They drafted Jedrick Wills 10th overall in this year’s draft, and signed former All Pro tackle Jack Conklin to a three year contract. With these additions, the Browns could have one of the better offensive lines in the league heading into 2020.
Center: Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers
The face of the Steelers offensive line, is none other than Maurkice Pouncey. Since being drafted in the first round in 2010, Pouncey has gone on to join the likes of Mike Webster and Dermotti Dawson as another iconic Steelers center. He is an eight time Pro Bowler, and a two time First Team All Pro. Pouncey’s greatest attribute is his ability to pull from the center position. He possesses unique agility for such a large man, and can constantly open running lanes for his backs. Pouncey is on track for an induction in Canton, and is currently the best center in the AFC North.
Right Guard: David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers
Alongside center Maurkice Pouncey, is fellow Steeler David DeCastro. A first-round pick in 2012, DeCastro has been a staple of the Steelers offensive line since coming into the league. Much like Pouncey, it is DeCastro’s agility that allows him to excel as a guard. He has tremendous footwork and can pull into the open field to set blocks for his running backs. DeCastro has been selected to five consecutive Pro Bowls, and is a two time First Team All Pro. At 30 years old DeCastro still has some gas left in the tank, and has is a potential Hall of Famer when all is said and done.
Right Tackle: Orlando Brown Jr., Baltimore Ravens
Son of former NFL offensive lineman Orlando “Zeus” Brown Sr., Orlando Brown Jr. has become one of the most promising young tackles in the NFL. A third round pick in 2018, Brown has yet to miss a single game in his NFL career, and was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2019. Still somewhat of a raw prospect, Brown is only improving. If he can fine tune some of the technical flaws in his game, there is no telling how great he can become. Brown is yet another young member of this stacked Ravens offensive line, who look to improve on their already incredible 2019 season.
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