Most underrated player from Steelers and AFC North rivals entering 2022

Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard (42). Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard (42). Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /
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The AFC North has some budding stars bud these players from the Pittsburgh Steelers and their division rivals still manage to be underrated. 

We are entering a new post-Ben Roethlisberger era in the AFC North. While one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in this division recently retired, it’s certainly looking like the AFC North will be dominated by impressive QB play for years to come.

Players like Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and Deshaun Watson are sure to steal the thunder in these matchups (we hope Kenny Pickett’s name can be added to this group in the near future). Likewise, this division includes numerous stars at other positions like T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, Ja’Marr Chase, Joel Bitonio, and Cameron Heyward.

But what about the lesser-known players who still make a sizable impact? Here are the most underrated players from each AFC North team as we prepare to enter the 2022 season:

Ravens: FB Patrick Ricard

Fullback is a position that is almost dead in the NFL. However, the Baltimore Ravens use a fullback routinely and have an excellent one in Patrick Ricard. At 6’3” and 311 pounds, it’s remarkable how Ricard can get out in front of the running back and pave highways.

In 2021, Ricard quietly played 555 snaps on offense (57 percent), according to Pro Football Reference. While he has gone unnoticed by many, Ricard has deservingly made it to three straight Pro Bowls and he has been a huge reason why the Ravens have found record-breaking success on the ground over the past few seasons.

There’s only a handful of teams out there who use fullbacks regularly, but Ricard graded out as the best player in the league at his position, according to Pro Football Focus. The massive fullback is rarely involved in the passing game often and was only given 2 rushing attempts last year, but he certainly made his presence felt with a tremendous 87.1 run-block grade in 2021.