If you look up the word awesome in the dictionary you'll see a picture of A.J. Green next to it. Okay, well that technically isn't the case. The Bengals 2011 first round pick is on pace to have one of the most productive seasons by a rookie wide receiver in recent memory.
When the Bengals selected Green fourth overall he was expected to be the heir apparent to wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. Green was expected to be the beginning of the "youth movement" in Cincinnati. And Green has done more than his fair share of replacing the outgoing Ochocinco. But Green has done it without saying much of anything. Instead he has let his game on the field do all of the talking.
Through the first five games of the season Green has caught 24 passes for 402 yards which equals an average of 16.8 yards a catch. Those numbers are insane considering most rookies aren't expected to succeed this quickly when making the transition from college to professional football.
But how good is Green really doing? He is currently on pace for 77 catches for 1,268 yards and ten touchdowns. At his current pace he is set to have a better rookie campaign than Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, and Jerry Rice did. That's a pretty good group to be paired with. Now the Bengals just have to hope that he doesn't let up or let the pressure of the spotlight get to him.
During his first game of the regular season Green didn't make a single reception in the first half. In fact, he only had one reception the entire game. But that one catch was the game-winning catch for the Bengals against in-state rivals Cleveland. The following week in Denver, Green caught 10 passes for an astonishing 124 yards. He hasn't looked back since.
In four out of the Bengals first five games Green has been a major factor in the Bengals' success. The only time he was completely shutdown was the Bengals home opener against the San Francisco 49ers where he made only four catches for 29 yards. Other than that one blip on the radar Green has been nearly an unstoppable force for the Bengals by making key receptions in pressure situations.
For the most part Green has been a force that most teams have had a difficult time figuring out. And the Bengals need that to continue in order for the team to keep heading down the right path.