In this new series, we’ll be taking a look at every division’s best starting offense and defense comprised of players from each of the four teams in the division. On the offense we’ll be using an 11 personnel basis and on the defense we’ll be using a 4-4 front in fairness to all schemes with three corners and two safeties on the back end. Without further a do let’s dive in and start with the AFC North, home of the Steelers, Bengals, Browns, and Ravens.
QB Lamar Jackson- Baltimore Ravens
All this Lamar Jackson slander is nonsense. Just because he threw 370 less yards and ran for 201 less yards than in his 2020 MVP showcase, he isn’t good anymore? Jackson still lead his team to the playoffs all while having Marquise Brown as his top receiver. Jackson is gonna have a big time season in 2021 now that he has Sammy Watkins, Tylan Wallace, and Rashod Bateman as new targets.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/442 Attempts/293 Completions/3,357 passing yards/33 Passing Touchdowns/66.3% Completion/8 Interceptions/1,139 Rushing Yards/8 Rushing Touchdowns
RB Nick Chubb- Cleveland Browns
I still don’t understand why Chubb doesn’t get more attention. He is a true cowbell back who plays a smash mouth brand of football. He has averaged over five yards a carry his whole career and looks to be a big part of this explosive Browns offense.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/253 carries/1,366 rushing yards/5.4 YPC/11 rushing touchdowns/22 receptions/182 receiving yards/8.3 YPC/1 receiving touchdown
WR Ja’Marr Chase- Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals got a generational talent in Chase. He can do absolutely everything you could ask of him and is built like a freight train. Ja’Marr has great chemistry with Joe Burrow already and with Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins as running mates, Ja’Marr Chase is going to see a lot of 1-on-1s.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/74 receptions/1,226 receiving yards/16.6 YPC/10 receiving touchdowns
WR Jarvis Landry- Cleveland Browns
When it comes to slot receivers, Landry is amongst the best of them. He is a crafty route runner with great hands and body control. Jarvis can make plays at all levels of the field and has proved to be the go to spark for Baker Mayfield.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/81 receptions/1,118 Receiving Yards/13.8 YPC/7 Receiving Touchdowns
WR Tyler Boyd- Cincinnati Bengals
Along with Landry, Boyd is one of the best slot receivers in the league. His route running is among the best of the league and he is a great yards after catch receiver. He alike Ja’Marr Chase is surrounded by tons of talent so his job should be easier.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/88 Receptions/1,047 Receiving Yards/11.9 YPC/8 Receiving Touchdowns
TE Mark Andrews- Baltimore Ravens
In terms of consistent tight ends who can both block and receive, Mark Andrews fits the mold. I will say this is a relatively weak division for tight ends but Andrews is no chump. He has put up 500+ yards in each of his first three seasons and has been a top tier security blanket for Lamar Jackson.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/66 Receptions/95 Targets/888 Receiving Yards/13.5 YPC/9 Receiving Touchdowns
LT Ronnie Stanley- Baltimore Ravens
Before his injury, Stanley was arguably the best left tackle in the league. He is extremely fluid and is elite in both facets of blocking. Ronnie is powerful and has near perfect footwork. If the Ravens can get a healthy Ronnie Stanley, Lamar won’t have to worry about his blindside.
LG Joel Bitonio- Cleveland Browns
The Browns have an incredible offensive line and Joel is a big part of why. He is one of the leagues best left guards and is a menace in the run game. Bitonio is a true bull dozer and is often a lead blocker for Nick Chubb.
C J.C. Tretter- Cleveland Browns
Few have come as far in their NFL career as J.C. Tretter has. He started buried in the Packers depth chart and now he is one of the best centers in the league. Tretter will rarely be serving pancakes but he is definitely an athletic big man. Few are as light on their feet as Tretter especially at the center position.
RG Wyatt Teller- Cleveland Browns
Teller is a massive man and who is serving pancakes contrary to Tretter. The man is full of muscle and power and plays the run and pass game with this strength. Wyatt is a true bull dozer and plays to run people over. One of the leagues best right guards in the NFL.
RT Jack Conklin- Cleveland Browns
Yeah, the Browns have a really good offensive line. Jack Conklin is a top five right tackle in the league and is arguably the best run blocker of any tackle. He got paid big time after consecutive elite seasons in Nashville.
DE Myles Garrett- Cleveland Browns
Few edge rushers are playing as well as Myles Garrett. Garrett is a pass rushing nightmare who absolutely dominates tackles with his power and hand counters. Myles is a former first overall pick who has combined his elite athleticism and size with technique and fundamentals to become a near flawless edge rusher.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/54 TOTAL/38 SOLO/12.5 Sacks/15 TFL/3 Forced Fumbles/3 Passes Defended
IDL Stephon Tuitt- Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are known for their stout defense and their ability to get after the quarterback. Tuitt is a big part of that. He shows great technique and power in order to beat the opposing tackles. I expect a big season from Tuitt in 2021 after posting a career high 11 sacks.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/49 TOTAL/21 SOLO/11 Sacks/12 TFL/1 Forced Fumble/2 Passes Defended
IDL Cameron Heyward- Pittsburgh Steelers
The leader of the Steelers defense is Cameron Heyward. The former Buckeye is a vocal leader who does his best leading by example. He is a master of technique who always seems to be in the backfield when his team needs him most.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/58 TOTAL/32 SOLO/7 Sacks/11 TFL/1 Forced Fumble/4 Passes Defended
DE Trey Hendrickson- Cincinnati Bengals
Trey Hendrickson’s 2020 campaign was the definition of a breakout season. Trey posted an astonishing 13.5 sacks and finished in a tie for second place with Aaron freaking Donald on the sack leaders list. After learning from Cameron Jordan for four seasons, he is ready to go lead a pass rush of his own.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/39 TOTAL/31 SOLO/9 Sacks/11 TFL/1 Forced Fumble/2 Passes Defended
OLB T.J. Watt- Pittsburgh Steelers
Despite living in the shadow of his brother’s greatness, T.J. is carving his own path. I would label Watt as the definition of a game wrecker. He sets up camp in your favorite team’s backfield and is a consistent disruptor. Now in his contract year, I think we see another dominant season from Watt.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/72 TOTAL/55 TOTAL/13 Sacks/26 TFL/5 Forced Fumbles/8 Passes Defended
ILB Devin Bush- Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers ask a lot of their linebackers and not just anyone can play the position. The Steelers require ultra athletic linebackers who can cover, run, and hit. Devin Bush fits the mold and more. As a rookie he was in a rotational role and posted 109 total tackles. This season he is coming back from an ACL tear so time will tell if he can return to form but the Steelers will have a monster if they do.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/121 TOTAL/96 SOLO/2 Sacks/2 Forced Fumbles/3 Fumble Recoveries/2 Interceptions/5 Passes Defended/10 TFL
ILB Patrick Queen- Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens took Queen in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft after an impressive year on the all-worldly LSU 2019 National Champions. Patrick is an athletic player who is smart and plays with a certain leadership you don’t see very often from these young guys.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/113 TOTAL/75 SOLO/2 Sacks/2 Forced Fumbles/3 Fumble Recoveries/2 Interceptions/3 Passes Defended/10 TFL
OLB Alex Highsmith- Pittsburgh Steelers
No rookie was thrusted into a starting position quite like Highsmith. He was never really a big sack guy last year but he definitely got after the quarterback and disrupted offenses opposite of T.J. Watt. I think Highsmith is gonna convert those pressures to sacks this season.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/61 TOTAL/43 SOLO/7 Sacks/11 TFL/1 Forced Fumble/2 Passes Defended
CB Marlon Humphrey- Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens found a gem with the former Crimson Tide stand out. Humphrey is a true lockdown cornerback who can play both zone and man and has a knack for creating turnovers. The Ravens defense revolves around pass coverage and that all starts with Marlon Humphrey along with Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/81 TOTAL/72 SOLO/6 Forced Fumbles/3 Interceptions/13 Passes Defended
CB Denzel Ward- Cleveland Browns
The Browns made waves when they picked former Ohio State Buckeye Denzel Ward fourth overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Since then Ward has been a lockdown player when healthy. The biggest issue has been the fact that he hasn’t played a full season yet. If he can stay healthy Ward can solidify himself as a lockdown CB1. Now that Greg Newsome II is in town, Ward will have a little help on the outside.
Projected Stat Line: 15 Games Played/55 TOTAL/47 SOLO/2 Forced Fumbles/4 Interceptions/19 Passes Defended
CB Marcus Peters- Baltimore Ravens
Across from CB1 Marlon Humphrey is Marcus Peters who would be a CB1 anywhere else. Peters is a stud at playing the ball and like his counterpart Humphrey, he has a knack for turnovers. The Ravens are gonna need these outstanding cover men to play at the top of their game in a division with such talent at the receiver position.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/57 TOTAL/49 SOLO/2 Forced Fumbles/3 Interceptions/12 Passes Defended
SS Vonn Bell- Cincinnati Bengals
Everyone knows Bell for laying out JuJu Smith-Schuster in a divisional matchup last season but the truth is, he makes highlight plays like that weekly. After a solid career with the Saints he was given a bigger role in the Bengals defense and is now playing his best football under Jessie Bates III.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/127 TOTAL/88 SOLO/2 Sacks/3 Forced Fumbles/1 Fumble Recovery/0 Interceptions/7 Passes Defended/5 TFL
FS Jessie Bates III- Cincinnati Bengals
Perhaps, no one is more underrated in all of the National Football League than Jessie Bates III. In my opinion, he was the best safety in the league and I expect huge things from him in 2021 especially because it’s a contract year. Put some respect on his name please.
Projected Stat Line: 17 Games Played/119 TOTAL/87 SOLO/1 Sack/1 Forced Fumble/5 Interceptions/17 Passes Defended/5 TFL
1.Cleveland Browns: 8
RB Nick Chubb, WR Jarvis Landry, LG Joel Bitonio, C J.C. Tretter, RG Wyatt Teller, RT Jack Conklin, DE Myles Garrett, CB Denzel Ward
2.Baltimore Ravens: 6
QB Lamar Jackson, TE Mark Andrews, LT Ronnie Stanley, LB Patrick Queen, CB Marlon Humphrey, CB Marcus Peters
3.Pittsburgh Steelers: 5
IDL Stephon Tuitt, IDL Cameron Heyward, OLB T.J. Watt, ILB Devin Bush, OLB Alex Highsmith
4.Cincinnati Bengals: 5
WR Ja’Marr Chase, WR Tyler Boyd, DE Trey Hendrickson, SS Vonn Bell, FS Jessie Bates III
RB Joe Mixon- Cincinnati Bengals
WR Odell Beckham Jr.- Cleveland Browns
WR Tee Higgins- Cincinnati Bengals
TE Austin Hooper- Cleveland Browns
LT Jedrick Wills Jr.- Cleveland Browns
RG Kevin Zeitler- Baltimore Ravens
FS Minkah Fitzpatrick- Pittsburgh Steelers