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2020 Offseason Questions: Who Is Best Interior OL In AFC North?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.

The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.

How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Who is the best interior offensive lineman in the AFC North?

Note: for simplicity’s sake, I’m just going to use images of Steelers for the cover photos of these articles. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m arguing they’re the best.

There was a time not long ago that it would go without saying the best interior offensive lineman in the AFC North was on the Steelers. Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro, both perennial Pro Bowlers and whatnot. Pouncey is coming off one of his worst seasons in years, however, while 2019 was run of the mill by DeCastro’s standards.

That’s actually not entirely true. After all, there was always Marshal Yanda in Baltimore. But even he is now retired, so that opens up the discussion even further. Still, I don’t know that there is a burgeoning well of talent along the interior offensive lines these days.

The Cleveland Browns have a solid claim of being the best in the division inside with Joel Bitonio and J.C. Tretter. The Cincinnati Bengals are still trying to piece their unit together. Trey Hopkins is good, but I wouldn’t put him up for discussion as the best in the AFC North.

In all honesty, with Yanda retired, the Ravens have nobody of note up the middle. That doesn’t mean they won’t put together a serviceable line with the likes of Matt Skura. They had one of the top lines in the league last year, but their strength is at the tackle position, especially now.

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