Tuesday, March 19, 2013
NFL Power Rankings: AFC North reaction
By Jamison Hensley
Sure, we're still about six months from the start of the regular season. There's also this thing called the NFL draft that will take place next month. But our Power Rankings voters at ESPN.com, which includes me for a second year, weighed in to see where the teams stand after the first week of free agency.
Here's an AFC North recap of the March edition of the pre-draft NFL Power Rankings, where the Seahawks sit at No. 1:
ESPN Power Ranking: No. 8
My ranking: No. 11
2012 record: 10-6
Comment: The Ravens have already lost six starters from their Super Bowl team and could say goodbye to another if safety Ed Reed signs elsewhere. General manager Ozzie Newsome will sign a few players over the next month and will find a couple of starters in the draft. But right now, the Ravens have major question marks at inside linebacker, left tackle and both safety spots.
ESPN Power Ranking: No. 10
My ranking: No. 10
2012 record: 10-6
Comment: There's always a feeling that the Bengals could really take over the division if they were more aggressive in free agency. The priority has been to keep their own free agents, and the Bengals have been successful doing so. Cincinnati still has holes at right tackle, strong safety and outside linebacker.
ESPN Power Ranking: No. 16
My ranking: No. 15
2012 record: 8-8
Comment: The Steelers parted ways with their best pass rusher over the past six years (James Harrison) and their most promising cornerback (Keenan Lewis). Pittsburgh's salary-cap problems have once again limited the team from improving in free agency. The Steelers need to find a running back and a pass-rusher in the draft because there is little confidence in the likes of Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Jason Worilds.
ESPN Power Ranking: No. 25
My ranking: No. 26
2012 record: 5-11
Comment: The Browns' free-agent focus was improving their front seven. Cleveland gave $35 million in guaranteed money to linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant. Not sure how that helps a Browns offense that averaged 18.9 points per game.