HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after he sacked T.J. Yates #13 of the Houston Texans in the first half during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
When Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was announced as the No. 77 player during the NFL Network's Top 100 Players special, it seemed like a long-shot that Cincinnati would have another player featured. Though considering that even the Cleveland Browns had two players, it wasn't entirely impossible. But as groupings were announced in successive weeks afterwards, we figured that the Bengals were done with said list, despite being a playoff team that's on the rise.
Now that we've reached the top-10, we can largely assume the Bengals are finished. And as one can probably assume originating from a site dedicated to the Cincinnati Bengals, that's very disappointing.
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins could be argued as being one of the most disappointing, especially with Ndamukong Suh listed at No. 38, twelve spots higher than Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning (really?). Atkins' pedigree is well-known on these pages. Comparatively speaking, Atkins had a far superior season last year than Suh, generating more tackles, quarterback sacks, forced fumbles and even passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
According to Pro Football Focus grading system, Atkins was superior in every way.
|Overall||Run Defense||Pass Coverage|
Greg Rosenthal with NFL.com writes about Suh's placement:
This "Top 100" list is full of great players, but it's also full of famous players. Suh is famous. Or notorious. He's talked-about, and he has commercials, so players vote for him. Suh had just four sacks last season. His tackle total was cut almost in half. There's no way he was even the best defensive lineman on his own team, much less one of the elite players in the league. Even Suh said he wants to put last season behind him.
Vince Wilfork was the only other defensive tackle to make the NFL Network's Top 100 players, listed at No. 81. A dominate run stopper, Wilfork should be made into an argument as a superior defensive tackle over Suh, though we fear Rosenthal is accurate on his assessment on Suh.
Ultimately there is no criteria for a list like this. Players are voting for players, and generally speaking the more notable players highlighted through the media tend to receive favoritism. Unfortunately someone like Atkins, a quiet player who goes about and does his job, is a man forgotten. And that's disappointing.