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AFC North Positional Rankings: Quarterback

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Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC North is a deep division when it comes to the quarterback position.

It hosts three teams who have legitimate franchise quarterbacks, and the Cleveland Browns.  So with all of that in mind, let's try and rank each team by their quarterback position groups.  Instead of just ranking the positions, their situations will be incorporated as well, with receiving talent and offensive line depth being considered.  Also remember this is not a ranking of sole starting quarterback, but includes the backups as well.

1.  Pittsburgh Steelers

By virtue of having the best quarterback in the division in Ben Roethlisberger (who appears to only be getting better) the Steelers are number one on my list.  Landry Jones scares me a bit as the backup, but with the talent the Steelers possess on the offensive side of the ball, I believe that he can at least manage a game or two in a pinch.  The health of Roethlisberger is something to keep an eye on this season, as he had issues with staying on the field last year and is not getting any younger.

2.  Cincinnati Bengals

There is always going to be a stigma surrounding Andy Dalton until the Bengals win a playoff game with him behind center, but it's hard to argue that he was in the early running for the MVP award last season until he was injured.  This number two ranking is hardly a referendum on Dalton, but rather the depth the Bengals possess at quarterback.  AJ McCarron was very solid in a relief effort last season and had them in position to win their first playoff game of the Marvin Lewis era (until they went full Cincinnati).  If Dalton has any issues this season, the surrounding talent should be enough to mask McCarron's deficiencies.

3.  Baltimore Ravens

The health of Joe Flacco is somewhat in question heading into 2016 training camp, but if he is set to go, the Ravens obviously have their man for the regular season.  If not though, things start to look a little more hazy for the purple and black.  Ryan Mallett is clearly the Ravens number two man at this point, as he came out of nowhere to secure a week 16 upset (and season sweep) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015.  Then he had a somewhat shaky outing against the Bengals the next week, skewing his small sample size in a more negative direction.  At the end of the day, Flacco is as solid as a rock for this franchise, but it is hard to count on a guy who overslept for a practice and missed a team flight in the span of a single season to effectively back him up.

4.  Cleveland Browns

There is a bit of cautious optimism around the Browns this season thanks to the hiring of former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to be their head coach.  While this may have been a savvy move, even a quarterback whisperer such as Jackson may have difficulty coaxing winning football out of Robert Griffin III.  Griffin has talent, but he can't stay healthy, and seemingly forgot how to play quarterback since his fantastic 2012 debut season.  I wasn't entirely sure of why the Browns made the move to sign him either.  They had a lot of issues in 2015, nevertheless Josh McCown actually had a decent season.  In McCown you have a veteran signal caller with experience, yet he also has issues staying healthy.  At best, you can probably expect him to be the mentor to both Griffin and third round rookie Cody Kessler from USC.  Kessler is an interesting piece for the future, but with both Griffin and McCown, he may not even dress in 2016.  All in all, this quarterback room is a muddled mess of has-beens and wannabes.  While the Browns may have made a good hire in Jackson, it's hard to get optimistic about the anyone they have under center.

How would you rank the quarterback groups in this division?  Let us know in the comments down below.