AFC North power ranking: Are Steelers still on top after the NFL Draft?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Najee Harris (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announces Najee Harris (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Ja’Marr Chase poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

AFC North rivals had impressive draft classes this year. Did the Steelers do enough to stay atop the division? 

Of the eight NFL divisions, the AFC North is one that has never been used to the concept of being mediocre, at least not a lot. This year’s edition of the draft has reminded the football world of just that.

The 4-team group, which combines to serve as a quarter of the American Football Conference, saw three playoff powers last season. Heading into this upcoming Fall, those same three (Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns) have experienced their fair shares of postseason hype.

The only outlier to all of this attention has been the Cincinnati Bengals, which is appropriate when considering their recent woes in the division and beyond. However, even Cincy was electric in their takeaways from the draft process that took place from April 29th to May 1st.

So considering the change of pace in talent that has graced the North’s organizations, it should be expected that anyone who decides to take part in the preseason ranking craze (that is bound to pick up speed soon) will be wanting to establish a safe hierarchy amongst them. That is exactly what I intend to accomplish today. Here are the preseason power rankings for the AFC North following the 2021 NFL Draft.

Note that the signings of undrafted free agents will not be a factor in deciding who goes where in this list unless two teams are neck-at-neck in their promise for the upcoming NFL year.

#4: Cincinnati Bengals

Yes, I did just recently make the point of applauding Cincinnati on their draft performance. Unfortunately for them, though, they are still dead last in the division. One offseason stretch is not going to change that, especially when beginning this next slate so far from any ounce of relevance.

Nonetheless, the Bengals do have some rather green pastures to look ahead to, with the acquisition of dynamic LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and the heavy attrition for both the offensive and defensive lines. Of course, quarterback Joe Burrow will be returning, which will be advantageous as well.