Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Walker's Fab 40: Nos. 29-32
By James Walker
The AFC North blog continues to rank the top 40 players in the division.
No. 32: Josh Cribbs, WR/KR
Team: Cleveland Browns
2010 stats: 23 receptions, 292 yards, one touchdown
Last year's ranking: No. 9
Analysis: Cribbs took a huge fall in "Walker’s Fab 40." Maybe Cribbs was overrated last year or he's being underrated some this year. But Cribbs came in at No. 32 after an abysmal season. He played most of the season with dislocated toes, and didn't show any explosiveness. Cribbs didn't contribute much on offense and added 982 total return yards on special teams. But Cribbs averaged just 20.4 yard per kick return, and his longest return was for 37 yards. He also put the ball on the ground five times. Next season will be a big year for Cribbs to prove 2010 was merely a down year. When healthy, he can be one of the division's most dynamic players.
No. 31: Leon Hall, cornerback
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
2010 stats: 44 tackles, four interceptions
Last year's ranking: No. 18
Analysis: Hall is another player who took a dip in this year's ranking. The Bengals' cornerback dropped 13 spots to No. 31 after a down year. Hall struggled when teammate Johnathan Joseph was hurt last season. Hall is perfect for the role as Cincinnati's No. 2 cornerback. But he was beat too many times for big plays when trying to guard the opposing team's best receiver. Hall remains a physical corner and a solid tackler. He recorded four interceptions in 2010. But with Joseph potentially becoming a free agent, Hall might have to step his game up and take over the No. 1 corner role in Cincinnati in 2011.
No. 30: Alex Mack, center
2010 stats: 16 starts
Last year's ranking: N/A
Analysis: Mack barely missed the cut last year and was one of several Fab 40 snubs. But this was the first time the second-year pro put together a full season of great football, and he made his first Pro Bowl as an alternate for the AFC. Combined with teammates Eric Steinbach and Joe Thomas, who are both higher on this list (hint, hint), the Browns have one of the NFL's strongest offensive lines on the left side. The trio helped pave the way for Browns tailback Peyton Hillis to have a breakout season. Mack also worked closely with rookie quarterback Colt McCoy, helping him get comfortable and show flashes in his first NFL action.
No. 29: Terrell Owens, receiver
2010 stats: 72 receptions, 983 yards, nine touchdowns
Last year's ranking: N/A
Analysis: At 37, T.O. still proved he has something left in the tank. After signing a one-year contract right before training camp, Owens led the team in receptions (72), receiving yards (983) and touchdowns (nine). He had several big games, but it didn't translate into victories for the last-place Bengals (4-12). Cincinnati lost six more games than it did from a year ago, when the Bengals won the division. Now Cincinnati is rebuilding and will go with younger receivers such as Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley. The Bengals won't re-sign Owens. But after his production last season, another team might give him a shot.