AFC North Top 25: Second-ranked player

The AFC North blog is continuing its series on the top 25 players in the division with No. 2:


Ravens defensive tackle

Why Ngata is ranked 2nd: Even though Terrell Suggs was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Ngata is the most disruptive force on the Ravens defense -- and perhaps the entire league -- when he's healthy. His combination of size, athleticism and drive makes him impossible to block with one player. The only person who can slow Ngata is himself, which happened in the second half of last season when back and thigh injuries affected his play.

Ngata still made a major impact last season with five sacks, five batted-down passes, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He was a cog in the middle for the NFL's second-ranked run defense, and he returned a fumble 28 yards for his first career touchdown. Ngata also has a big presence in the pass defense, where three of his pressures led to interceptions. There has been criticism that Ngata put on too much weight this offseason, but Ngata is primed to become the next player in this division to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. He's gone to three straight Pro Bowls and won't turn 29 until after the season.