Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins had a good rookie year.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Atkins, fellow rookie Carlos Dunlap and second-year defensive end (or linebacker or whatever they want to call him) Michael Johnson gave the Bengals a serviceable pass rush towards the end of the season. Often putting pressure on quarterbacks up the middle, Atkins led the team with 19 quarterback pressures and finished second on the squad with three quarterback sacks.
His career in the NFL started early. While the Ravens were trying to put together a game-winning late in the game on September 19, Atkins and Michael Johnson sacked Joe Flacco for a four-yard loss. Flacco threw his fourth interception on the next play to give the Bengals the win. Atkins also led the NFL with 4.5 quarterback sacks in the preseason.
Geno Atkins thinks the Fisher Price Package has a bright future ahead of them and we're inclined to agree with the young defensive tackle. With rookies Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap leading the team with a combined 12.5 quarterback sacks in 2010, Pat Sims and Michael Johnson contributed with five quarterback sacks on their own giving the squad 17.5 sacks between all four. Even Frostee Rucker -- if you want to include him in the group -- often provided a decent pass rush with 11 quarterback pressures before his injury axed the second half of his season.
With the uncertainty of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, it's doubtful the team will get rid of veterans like Robert Geathers or Tank Johnson, but the team's future on the defensive line is very bright indeed.