NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks recently released his list of the most talented rosters in the league. The Pittsburgh Steelers check in at #2 with the Cincinnati Bengals ranked #7. The Ravens are nowhere to be found in the top ten.
Here is what Brooks had to say about the AFC North rivals:
2) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers could be downright scary in 2016, with a roster that is chock-full of blue-chip talent on both sides of the ball. The offense features the most explosive version of the "Triplets" (quarterback, running back and wide receiver) in the NFL today, with Roethlisberger, Bell and Brown all ranking among the absolute best at their respective positions. (Bryant has the raw skills to become a true star, but his season-long suspension puts that on hold for 2016.) On defense, the emergence of Timmons and Heyward as impact players along the front seven could help the defense return to the ranks of the elite and help fuel a Super Bowl run down the stretch.
7) Cincinnati Bengals
There's no disputing the depth or talent on the Bengals' roster -- after all, the team's made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons. Despite the loss of a few key contributors (Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Andre Smith), Cincy should remain among the AFC's elite with a lineup that features a handful of game changers in the trenches and a pair of the NFL's most explosive pass catchers (Green and Eifert). Whitworth and Zeitler solidify an offensive line that provides excellent protection for Dalton in the pocket. Defensively, the Bengals have a solid 1-2 combination on the defensive line (Atkins and Dunlap) that creates opportunities for Burfict on the second level. With Jones growing into a CB1 in the latter stages of his career, the Bengals still have enough firepower to continue their postseason streak.
These rankings have Seattle, Carolina, Denver and Minnesota included in the top five with the Chiefs also representing the AFC at #6. The Steelers at #2 seems a bit too high, Lawrence Timmons is past his prime and should not be considered a blue chip player at this point in his career.
To be honest, the Ravens are probably not among the ten most talented rosters in the league at this point in the franchise's roster building arc. The Steelers and Bengals do have a couple more blue chippers on their teams who are in the prime years of their careers.
However, the Ravens do have superior coaching, along with potentially better depth and greater leadership. Winning in the NFL takes more than the best talent. In order for the Ravens to win the AFC North in 2016, they will likely have to lean on their coaching advantage.