This week's "Take your pick" in the AFC North had a NFL draft theme. We asked which team in the division has the best front office?
Here is a sample from our division inbox and a final say on the subject:
Frankie from Glendale, Ariz., writes: The Steelers' front office is easily the best. Not taking away anything from the Ravens, but two SB titles since '05 mean they had the best team in the league twice, which also mean they did their jobs in getting the right people for their team. I wouldn't mind having either, but I would take Pittsburgh's front office going into this season.
Alex from Indianapolis writes: There is no possible way that anyone can disagree that the Ravens have the best front office in the AFC North, if not the best in the whole league. They didn't just draft great players, they drafted some of the best players to ever play the game. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed! C'mon, son! According to the New York Times the Ravens also drafted the second best RT in the NFL right now, Michael Oher. The Steelers have drafted very good players, but the Ravens have drafted better players and more of them. In my mind there is no question that the Ravens have the best front office in the NFL.
Dennis Lyon from De Pere, Wis., writes: I think when you take into consideration the success the Steelers have with undrafted free agents (Willie Parker, James Harrison, etc.) as well as how they are successful with the draft, it has to be the Steelers front office hands down.
Andrew from Ellicott City, Md., writes: Ravens hands down. Ozzie Newsome is a miracle worker when it comes to the draft. The last four seasons he's produced big names in not only the first round alone but second round including Ray Rice and Paul Kruger. How can anyone doubt his success? Sure the Steelers have two Super Bowls to the Ravens' one, but you must look beyond that.
(Editor's note: Are you sure Kruger compares to Rice at this point, Andrew?)
Drew from State College, Pa., writes: It's all about the rings. Pittsburgh has two, Baltimore has one. It's hard to argue against Ozzie Newsome though when your first two draft picks of the franchise are future first-ballot Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis.
Megan from Richmond, Va., writes: The Baltimore Ravens, in my opinion, have the best front office. Of course I'm a biased fan, but the Steelers team just doesn't do it for me. Sure they have two recent Lombardis and we don't, but they aren't maintaining consistency. Ozzie is building our franchise, and we're seeing a constant increase in success. There are no roller coasters for the black and purple--and the fans are confident that Ozzie will bring us to the top.
Carl Binder Jr. from Sarasota, Fla., writes: Since 1969 when Chuck Noll entered the picture, the Steelers have been drafting extremely well. I would take what they done over anything put together by Cincy, Cleveland, or Baltimore. Seem to do well no matter where they are in draft. Seem to make fewer mistakes with the picks. They're not 100% but never will be.
Matt from Ashburn, Va., writes: Cleveland, who's arguably the NFL's hottest team with the four-game win streak, has made many upgrades at the linebacker, cornerback, quarterback, offensive tackle, and tight end positions in a short period of time under Mike Holmgren and new GM Tom Heckert, whose Eagles have fallen apart since he left. This is what makes a great case for Cleveland's front office.
AFC North final say
James Walker: There isn't much that currently separates the front offices of the Steelers and Ravens. So you really can't go wrong either way. But when settling a very close sports debate, you can always look to championships. Pittsburgh recently won two and Baltimore has one in 2000. Both front offices are probably in the top five in the NFL. But until the Ravens win another Super Bowl, the Steelers have the slight edge, because the ultimate goal of a front office is to build a championship-caliber team.