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Friday, February 5, 2010
Fab 40 snubs?

By James Walker
ESPN.com

Not everyone can make "Walker's Fab 40" in 2010.

Here are several quality AFC North players who didn't make the cut:

Cincinnati Bengals: LB Keith Rivers, LB Rey Maualuga

Reason: Both are good, young linebackers who are still growing into the position. Rivers and Maualuga, who were college teammates at USC, should help raise each other's level of play next year in their second NFL season together.

Cleveland Browns: FB Lawrence Vickers, C Alex Mack

Reason: Vickers is a good fullback, but that position doesn't rate high in my book or in NFL circles. I would take a good tailback or a good receiver over a good fullback every time. That showed as no fullbacks made this year's list. Mack had a good second half to his rookie year, but that wasn't enough.

Baltimore Ravens: FB Le'Ron McClain

Reason: Someone had to get shortchanged, and McClain was the biggest snub this year, in my opinion. If I were doing 41 players he probably would be on the list. But similar to Vickers, it came down to position value. I chose to put good receivers, running backs and linebackers, for example, ahead of a great fullback because of that player's impact in games. Still, I wouldn't argue against the opposing view that McClain deserves recognition.

Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Brett Keisel, K Jeff Reed

Reason: Keisel is a solid veteran in Pittsburgh, but he was another player who was just on the outside looking in. For Reed, kickers are in the same boat as fullbacks in terms of positional value. No kicker made this year's "Walker's Fab 40," but Reed would be the first if the list was expanded.

Walker's Fab 40 for 2010

1. Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers
2. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
3. Ed Reed, S, Ravens
4. Joe Thomas, OT, Browns
5. James Harrison, LB, Steelers
6. Ray Lewis, LB, Ravens
7. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
8. LaMarr Woodley, LB, Steelers
9. Josh Cribbs, KR/WR, Browns
10. Haloti Ngata, DE, Ravens
11. Cedric Benson, RB, Bengals
12. Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals
13. Chad Ochocinco, WR, Bengals
14. Terrell Suggs, DE/LB, Ravens
15. Hines Ward, WR, Steelers
16. Johnathan Joseph, CB, Bengals
17. Santonio Holmes, WR, Steelers
18. Leon Hall, CB, Bengals
19. Shaun Rogers, DT, Browns
20. Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
21. Casey Hampton, DT, Steelers
22. Heath Miller, TE, Steelers
23. Michael Oher, RT, Ravens
24. James Farrior, LB, Steelers
25. Aaron Smith, DE, Steelers
26. Eric Steinbach, OG, Browns
27. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
28. Jared Gaither, OT, Ravens
29. Ike Taylor, CB, Steelers
30. Derrick Mason, WR, Ravens
31. Jarret Johnson, LB, Ravens
32. Domata Peko, DT, Bengals
33. Dhani Jones, LB Bengals
34. Ryan Clark, S, Steelers
35. Antwan Odom, LB Bengals
36. Andrew Whitworth, OT, Bengals
37. Lawrence Timmons, LB, Steelers
38. Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
39. Jerome Harrison, RB, Browns
40. Todd Heap, TE, Ravens