NFL Rankings: Best AFC North Defensive Lineman Heading into 2012

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NFL Rankings: Best AFC North Defensive Lineman Heading into 2012
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The AFC North is always an interesting division when trying to rank defenses or players who play within them. 

With two teams in the division running a 4-3 and two running a 3-4, it is difficult to figure out and decipher which players fit a system and which players would stand out on any defense.

So, I decided to break the AFC North defensive lineman down into two categories.  Those two categories were the d-linemen whom are invaluable to their defense and the defensive lineman who are just athletic freaks of nature. 

Upon establishing those two categories, I cross referenced these players with their production on the football field in 2011. 

From top to bottom, this is a division that is extensive with defensive line talent.  In turn, picking the best of the best is not an easy task.

A little side note for Baltimore Ravens fans.  Terrell Suggs did not make this list because the Ravens do not list the hybrid OLB/DE as a defensive lineman.  I have nothing but respect for the former Arizona State star, and he was getting consideration for this list, even with his Achilles injury.

Without further ado, here is your best AFC North defensive lineman in no particular order heading into the 2012 season.

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