The FanSided Network has put together an ultimate roster for each division in the NFL and, when looking at it, the AFC North puts up a pretty formidable all-star roster.
The original roster was conceived by Nate over at Stripe Hype, and I have included his player comments as well. All of the changes and comments I have made are in bold, with the original player chosen in parentheses .
Without furter ado, here is the AFC North’s best roster:
LT: Joe Thomas, Cleveland – You could argue Andrew Whitworth, but Thomas carries a little more clout. – To be honest, there was no real competition here. Leaving Thomas out of this is like leaving out Ben Roethlisberger…
LG: Eric Steinbach, Cleveland – Yes, Cleveland might be pretty bad, but the left side of the line is good.
C: Matt Birk, Baltimore
RG: Bobbie Williams, Cincinnati
RT: Michael Oher, Baltimore
WR: Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati
WR: Anquan Boldin, Baltimore
Slot: Hines Ward, Pittsburgh – He’s not all that fast, but Ward has excellent hands and is a ferocious blocker.
TE: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh
QB: (Carson Palmer, Cincinnati – Yes, Roethlisberger has more playoff wins and is a two-time Super Bowl champion, but his supporting cast has been significantly better. Plus, playing quarterback requires good sense off the field. And Big Ben doesn’t have any of that. At all.) – Despite what Roethlisberger does off the field, you can’t argue with results, and a good supporting cast can only take you so far. Roethlisberger has shown time and time again that he can lead his team to victory late in a game and in the playoffs. When the game is on the line, there are few quarterbacks in the entire NFL that I would rather have on my team than Ben Roethlisberger.
RB: Ray Rice, Baltimore – Cedric Benson is probably better between the tackles, but Rice excels as a receiver as well.
DE: Aaron Smith, Pittsburgh
NT: Shaun Rogers, Cleveland – His effort is questionable at times, but he’s a monster when motivated – I wouldn’t question his effort with the Browns; when he isn’t hurt, he has played well as the anchor of an awful defense.
DE: Haloti Ngata, Baltimore
LB: James Harrison, Pittsburgh
LB: Ray Lewis, Baltimore
LB: (Rey Maualuga, Cincinnati) James Farrior, Pittsburgh – Farrior has far too much experience to not be on this roster, especially if Rey Maualuga is taking his place. Maualuga will one day find himself on this list, but not yet.
LB: Lamar Woodley, Pittsburgh
CB: Leon Hall, Cincinnati
CB: Jonathan Joseph, Cincinnati
FS: Ed Reed, Baltimore
SS: Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh – Not a true strong safety, but he’s too talented (when healthy) to leave off the list.
KR: Josh Cribbs, Cleveland – Easily the best player on Cleveland’s entire team – Can’t argue there, but to be fair, he would be one of the best players on many teams.
PR: Josh Cribbs, Cleveland
K: (Shayne Graham, Baltimore – Great at unimportant field goals. Pretty awful in the clutch.) – If you want a clutch kicker, which you do, then the argument is between Jeff Reed of Pittsburgh and Phil Dawson of the Browns, with the nod going to Dawson. Both kickers have the same career percentage of field goals made, so it’s nearly a toss-up. However, when you combine field goals made from 40-49 yards and 50+, Dawson hits 67% of the time compared to Reed’s 65%, and that’s with more attempts. Granted, it’s the product of being in a bad offense, but, once again, it’s hard to argue with results.
P: Kevin Huber, Cincinnati – Impressive average of 49 yards per punt last year.
So there it is, the AFC North Ultimate Roster with some modifications. What do you think? Let us know below!