AFC North: AFC Top 25

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 12:


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver

Why Wallace is ranked 12th: Is there faster deep threat more feared than Wallace? He finished first among division wide receivers with 72 catches and 1,193 yards receiving. Wallace continued to stretch the field with seven receptions of at least 40 yards, including touchdowns of 81 and 95 yards. He also caught one pass of 40 yards or more in six straight games this season.

The only cause for concern is his late-season dip in 2011. In his last seven games, he averaged 46.4 yards and scored two touchdowns. Ben Roethlisberger's injuries likely factored into Wallace's slump, but it will be up to Wallace to prove that. It also didn't help Wallace that he sat out the offseason practices to protest his restricted free-agent tender. But you expect Wallace to succeed in Todd Haley's new offensive scheme.
The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 23:


Bengals tight end

Why Gresham is ranked 23rd: He's the best tight end in the division, and he'll really make that clear this season. Gresham led AFC North tight ends in receptions (56) and touchdown catches (six) last season, but he was underused in the Bengals' offense last season. With receivers Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell leaving in free agency, the Bengals will turn to Gresham after not signing a receiver in free agency or drafting one in the first two rounds. His 2012 numbers should be between 70 and 80 catches because he'll become Andy Dalton's No. 2 target behind A.J. Green. Look for the Bengals to stretch the field with Gresham more this season to take advantage of his athleticism. Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis made a point to tell reporters that Gresham came back from his first Pro Bowl with increased confidence. That should be reflected in his production.