8 Ravens players make preseason All-AFC North Team

Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

It should be no surprise that the Baltimore Ravens house some of the best players in the AFC North, and that fact was further cemented in a recent NFL ranking.

Jared Dubin of CBS Sports listed his 2021 preseason All-AFC North Team which includes a whopping eight Ravens players. Some were easy pickings: Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Ronnie Stanley, Marlon Humphrey. All guys we know and love.

Dubin also included Marcus Peters in the defensive backfield with Humphrey and Cleveland’s Denzel Ward, which is a nice nod after Peters missed out on the NFL Top 100 List.

He further chose all Baltimore players for the All-AFC North special teams unit: Justin Tucker as kicker, Sam Koch as punter, and Devin Duvernay as kick returner.

He admits he deferred to a “resident expert” who claimed Tucker and Koch were the best in the division, and their respective track records speak for themselves. Tucker is arguably already one of the best kickers of all time, and Koch, well, he’s been around for a while.

When Koch played his first game for Baltimore in 2006, Lamar Jackson was just nine years old. Koch has since amassed plentiful punting records, including being 7-for-7 as a passer on fake punts, the highest completion percentage in league history for any player with at least five career passes.

As for Duvernay, he averaged 27.5 yards per kick return last season and was just one of a select few players to return a kickoff for a touchdown.

Going into 2021, the Ravens special teams unit is quite “special” indeed.

The Ravens boast eight players on preseason All-AFC North team in 2021

Picking the All-AFC North quarterback was no easy feat, though.

Before landing on Lamar Jackson, Dubin gave his reasons for why other quarterbacks could come out on top: with Joe Burrow back from injury and with Cincinnati’s deadly wide receiver room, the Bengals will likely throw more often than their competitors as they look to upgrade their passing game.

The Cleveland Browns have one of the most “well-designed” offenses in the division which allows Baker Mayfield to be just as productive as he was last season. And the Steelers’ “Big Ben” really needs no explanation.

All those reasons being said, Dubin saved the best for last:

"“Jackson is the most talented player at the position in this division, though, so we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt despite some questions about the supporting cast and offensive design.”"

Admittedly, it’s not a huge Thanksgiving dinner-heaping of praise, but Dubin believes Jackson is the most “talented” of the bunch, and we do too.

Jackson’s tantalizing chemistry with tight end Mark Andrews was briefly touched upon, as Dubin predicted Andrews’ “bounce-back” in 2021 given that he’s been one of the most efficient and consistent in his position.

It may be worth noting no Ravens wide receiver made the team since Dubin clearly isn’t a fan of Baltimore’s “supporting cast and offensive design.”

With fierce competition in the likes of Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, and Odell Beckham Jr., we’re honestly not too miffed about it. The AFC North also contains Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Jarvis Landry, and Diontae Johnson, to name many more wideout threats.

While we would make a case for our own Rashod Bateman being at least tossed into the hat, we’re nonetheless proud of our other eight players who made the All-AFC North team.

Still, rankings are just rankings, and Dubin is just one of many analysts chiming in before the start of the season.

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You can take the player inclusions and exclusions on this list with a grain of salt, but the most pertinent takeaway is this: the Baltimore Ravens are well-balanced are at each position heading into the 2021 season.

Defense may win championships, but so does depth.