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2016 Offseason All-AFC North Team

Based off Pro Football Focus' 2015 grades

Mitch Stringer - USA Today Sports

Pro Football Focus released their offseason grades for the AFC North last week. Embedded in these articles were their projected starters for each team in the division with their 2015 grades.

Ravens’ projected base defense in 2016 (2015 grades shown):

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Ravens’ projected base offense in 2016 (2015 grades shown):

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Bengals’ projected base defense in 2016 (2015 grades shown):

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Bengals’ projected base offense in 2016 (2015 grades shown):

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Browns’ projected base defense in 2016 (2015 season grades shown):

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Browns’ projected base offense in 2016 (2015 season grades shown):

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Steelers’ projected base defense in 2016 (2015 grades shown):

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Steelers’ projected base offense in 2016 (2015 grades shown):

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 2.59.04 PM

Based off these projections and grades, the offseason All-AFC North team is as follows:

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, 92.7

RUNNING BACK: Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers, 94.0

WIDE RECEIVER: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers, 96.5 / A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals, 92.1 / Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens, 92.0

TIGHT END: Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals, 86.8

The Steelers hold a big advantage in offensive skill personnel with the best quarterback, running back and receiver.  The Bengals have an elite wide receiver and very good tight end at Andy Dalton's disposal.  Steve Smith Sr. and Kamar Aiken form the best tandem of receivers for the Ravens.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns, 94.3 / Marshal Yanda, Baltimore Ravens, 92.5 / Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati Bengals, 88.5 / Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati Bengals, 84.6 / David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers, 83.4

The offensive line may be the strongest group for the division.  Whitworth and Joe Thomas, the Browns lone representative on this team, are two of the best tackles in the entire NFL.  Three of the four AFCN teams have an above average right guard.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals, 93.0 / Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers, 84.3 / Carlos Dunlap, Cincinnati Bengals, 83.5 / Brandon Williams, Baltimore Ravens, 83.0

The Bengals lead the defensive line with Atkins and Dunlap.  Heyward along with Stephon Tuitt give the Steelers a formidable pair of ends.

LINEBACKERS: Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals, 84.0 / Elvis Dumervil, 78.5 Baltimore Ravens / Rey Maulaga 77.9 Cincinnati Bengals

Another defensive group that has Cincinnati leading the way.  The linebacker play in the division is not nearly as strong as it traditionally has been.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Adam Jones 83.3 Cincinnati Bengals / George Iloka 82.6 Cincinnati Bengals / Ross Cockrell 80.5 Pittsburgh Steelers / Mike Mitchell 79.5 Pittsburgh Steelers

2015 was a tough season for former first round corners in the division - Jimmy Smith, Joe Haden, and Dre Kirkpatrick all posted poor grades.  Cincinnati completes their sweep of the defensive positions with two more team members.

Overall, the Bengals lead the division with ten All-AFC North team members, followed by the Steelers with seven and the Ravens with four.  Special teams are not included in this projection which probably hurts the Ravens total.  Rookies are also not included, Ronnie Stanley of the Ravens and William Jackson III of the Bengals seem to be the most likely to crack the list next offseason.  The Browns roster looks quite weak in comparison to their division rivals.

From a Ravens perspective, it makes sense that the team does not project well following a down year with many crushing injuries.  Perhaps the biggest reason to be optimistic is the rebound potential of C.J. Mosley and Jimmy Smith, two players who have played well in the past and are healthy this offseason.