I’ts worth noting that Cincinnati had a better ranking than their two AFC North rivals in Pittsburgh in Baltimore, but the Cleveland Browns actually had the best line of any AFC North team, coming in at #5. If they can find a serviceable QB, they could become one of the surprise teams of 2013, and make an already stacked division by-far the best in the NFL.
What’s even crazier is the Bengals played half of the season with emergency replacement Jeff Faine starting for half the season at center, because Kyle Cook suffered a serious ankle injury during training camp, and never appeared to be 100% even when he did reclaim his starting role. If he can be healthy going into the 2013 season, that ranking should definitely increase.
That’s all assuming that the Bengals will find a way to keep free agent right tackle Andre Smith in Cincinnati, either with a long-term contract, or by utilizing the franchise tag.
Don’t forget about Travelle Wharton returning from a season-ending knee injury. He was projected to be the starting left guard coming into the season, but clint Boling wound up starting every game, and performed admirably. Still, expect to see Boling have to battle with Wharton to retain his starting spot.
All of this competition will only keep the lineman hungry to keep improving.