Ben Roethlisberger was the top player from the AFC North in Scouts Inc.'s ranking.
Scouts' ranking: No. 8
Walker's AFC North Fab 40: No. 2
Analysis: There were rankings this offseason that didn't place Roethlisberger among the top 40 players. This one is much more accurate. Quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rogers and Drew Brees were all rated ahead of Roethlisberger.
Analysis: I was surprised to see Thomas as the second highest-rated player from the AFC North. He is the best left tackle in football. But Thomas dealt with an elbow injury and didn't have his best year in 2010. Therefore, I had seven division players rated above Thomas in "Walker’s Fab 40." Many are on the list below.
Analysis: I think Harrison's ranking was accurate. The former Defensive Player of the Year is one of the hardest hitters in football and still playing at a high level. I disagree that Harrison is better and more important to the Steelers' defense than safety Troy Polamalu. But we will get to that later.
Analysis: Ngata is the best defensive lineman in football, according to Scouts Inc. He has a rare combination of size and nimble feet that's scary for opponents. The Ravens and Ngata are working on a long-term contract to make him one of the highest-paid defenders in football.
Troy Polamalu, Steelers safety
Scouts' ranking: No. 18
Walker's Fab 40: No. 1
Analysis: This was the ranking that surprised me the most. Polamalu was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 but had six defenders rated ahead of him and 17 players total. Polamalu's Achilles injury at the end of last season put a big dent in his effectiveness. That seems to be what most people remember about last season. But, when healthy, Polamalu is a special talent.