AFC North Top 25: Eighth-ranked player

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 8:


Steelers linebacker

Why Harrison is ranked 8th: He would sit atop the rankings if this was a list of the most-feared players in the AFC North. But, in projecting the top players in the division for the upcoming season, Harrison is in the bottom half of the top 10. He finished with 59 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles, which are his lowest totals since his breakthrough 2007 season. This ended a four-year run of making the All-Pro team. Some chalk it up to missing five games (four due to injury and one to suspension). But it looked like Harrison was a step slower last season.

While the 34-year-old linebacker is on the downside of his career, he remains an impact player -- and a well-respected one. His bull rush, which is one of the best in the league, can still get him to the quarterback. Harrison is also a ferocious hitter (just ask Colt McCoy). There's a chance that Harrison could put up better numbers in 2012 because he'll be a year removed from having two back surgeries. But there will come a point when he will wear down.