AFC North Offensive Lines: Strong Offensive Line Play Sets Tone

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AFC North Offensive Lines: Strong Offensive Line Play Sets Tone

Running the ball, protecting the quarterback and controlling the clock are critical elements of any successful offensive line, and ultimately, any successful offensive. That even includes fantasy football offenses. You don’t just need to draft a good running back, you need to have the horses up front blocking for him. If you want further proof, consider Cleveland’s success last season after signing free agent guard Eric Steinbach and drafting Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas with its first-round pick. The strong line play helped Jamal Lewis rebuild his career. Because of the grind-it-out approach of all AFC North teams, this might be the most competitive group of offensive lines in the conference. Below is the way I see it.

Cleveland Browns (1st in AFC North, 4th in Conference)
As stated above, with Thomas and Steinbach leading the way, this above average group should dominate for years to come.

LT Joe Thomas
LG Eric Steinbach
C Hank Fraley
RG Rex Hadnot
RT Kevin Shaffer

Pittsburgh Steelers (2nd in AFC North, 7th in Conference)
Losing guard Alan Faneca in free agency hurts, but Pittsburgh has a knack for knowing when to part with veterans. The smart money is on this blue-collar team finding a way to grind it out on the ground.

LT Marvel Smith
LG Chris Kemoeatu
C Justin Hartwig
RG Kendall Simmons
RT Willie Colon

Cincinnati Bengals (3rd in AFC North, 10th in Conference)
Willie Anderson and Levi Jones give this unit strong play from the tackles, but the middle of the line is average at best as Cincinnati rarely generates a push up the middle.

LT Levi Jones
LG Andrew Whitworth
C Eric Ghiaciuc
RG Bobbie Williams
RT Willie Anderson

Baltimore Ravens (4th in AFC North, 11th in Conference)
The only thing exciting about this group was stud tackle Jonathan Odgen, who just retired last week. Is there anybody on the roster ready to lead this group like Odgen did? Time will tell.

LT Jared Gaither or Adam Terry
LG Jason Brown
C Chris Chester
RG Ben Grubbs
RT Marshal Yanda

We are half way through the series in which we go division by division looking at and ranking the most overlooked factor in the success of your fantasy football squad, the offensive line. So you might want to keep an eye out over the next few weeks - which by the way, I have made it easy for you to do because…

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