Which player would Steelers take from each AFC North team in 2021?

Lamar Jackson #8 and Ronnie Stanley #79 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Lamar Jackson #8 and Ronnie Stanley #79 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Ronnie Stanley #79 of the Baltimore Ravens. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Steelers could prove to be contenders this season, but here’s what they could do with one great player from each AFC North team in 2021. 

Hypotheticals rule the NFL world this time of year. Though some of these scenarios will certainly never come to fruition, they are interesting to think about. The Pittsburgh Steelers had a team that started the season 11-0 in 2020 but fell flat late in the season.

While Pittsburgh could very well prove to be a competitor again in 2021, it makes me wonder how good this team would be with a little boost. The AFC North is one of the toughest divisions in all of football right now, with all four teams possessing at least a few star players.

This got me thinking: which player would the Steelers poach from each AFC North team for the 2021 season? For this hypothetical scenario, I thought of this as a one-year rental in which they are able to take one player from each of the three teams in their division. Here’s what I came up with:

Ravens: OT Ronnie Stanley

Others considered: CB Marlon Humphrey, QB Lamar Jackson

This one tore me a couple of different ways. Marlon Humphrey is one of the best cornerbacks in the business. He would have been an immediate upgrade over either Joe Haden or Cameron Sutton. The prospect of renting a former MVP quarterback as a shiny new toy for Matt Canada was also intriguing. However, I decided to go with former All-Pro offensive tackle, Ronnie Stanley.

Stanley was one of the best left tackles in the league in 2019 before landing on IR after just 6 games last season. Now fully recovered, his presence would be a massive improvement over Chukwuma Okorafor as Ben Roethlisberger’s blindside protector in 2021. The offense isn’t going to work unless the offensive line protects better this season, and Stanley would offer a huge upgrade at one of the most important positions in football.