AFC North News: All Division Preseason Running Backs

EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs against the New York Jets during their home opener at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The All Division Preseason Team was chosen based on performance in 2011, projected success in 2012 and extraneous factors, such as potential, opportunity and overall talent. Positions are taken generally, meaning there won't necessarily be one right tackle and one left tackle, but there will be two offensive tackles.

A division that used to pride itself heavily on the pounding bruising style of Jerome Bettis, Jamal Lewis and Corey Dillon has made way for smaller, multi-faceted backs.

The production, though, hasn't changed much with this philosophical change. The personnel in 2012, though, will change up quite a bit. Week 1 will only see one team (Baltimore) trot out the same feature back they used the previous year, and it's not a coincidence that one running back makes the team.

All AFC North: Offensive Tackle | Offensive Guard | Center |

RB Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Mr. Versatility easily grabs a spot on the All Division Team. After three consecutive seasons with at least 1,700 total yards from scrimmage, Rice earned a hefty extension this offseason. He'll likely earn that cash, as Baltimore will continue to lean on him for the bulk of their production.

RB Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers

Without any real front-runner after Rice, Redman's previous production and team's emphasis on running the ball makes him the most worthy candidate for this spot. The real problem is the split-carry system likely to be employed by the Steelers starting in Week 1. And that's without RB Rashard Mendenhall being involved. Steelers RB Jonathan Dwyer will likely see roughly the same amount of carries as Redman, but Redman has past production on his side.

Honorable Mention

RB Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns

We won't see many rookies on this list, but Richardson's pure talent, the lack of a competitor within the team and the Browns' general lack of skill position talent, makes Richardson a candidate to have a pretty decent year, production-wise. He's been recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his knee throughout training camp, but it seems likely he can figure out a "Trent run off Joe Thomas" offense in time.

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