This past season, Green set career highs in receptions (98) and receiving yards (1,426, second-most total in Bengals history), while also scoring 11 touchdowns. He had six 100-yard games, including a franchise record five in a row.
Though many regard Green as one of the two or three-best receivers in pro football, PFF's Steve Palazzolo thinks Green is one of three most-overrated players in the game, ranking him No. 97 among all NFL players.
First, Green saw the third-most targets in the league with 172, and he dropped 11 of his 109 catchable passes, good for a drop rate of 10.6 percent that ranked 14th-worst among receivers with at least 40 receptions. Of Green's 98 catches, only 66.3 percent went for first downs, a number that ranked 42nd among all pass-catchers.
Green lacked the consistency of his peers in 2013, as he graded negatively in the receiving game five times, a feat matched only by Alshon Jeffery among the other top 100 wide receivers. His last negative game came in the Bengals' playoff defeat at the hands of the San Diego Chargers, as Green was held to three catches for 34 yards.
The two issues I have with this study are this:
1. "Of Green's 98 catches, only 66.3 percent went for first downs." If the Bengals are trying to force the ball to Green with bubble-screens, quick-hitters and routes that leave Green stopping short of the sticks, how is that his fault?
2. Green could have had even better numbers if he played with a QB with a better deep-ball than Andy Dalton. Far too many times Green beat his man and had an easy touchdown if Dalton could have just lead him a little more, but underthrew it and allowed the defender to recover and either deflect he pass, or limit the damage done by Green.
Perhaps Green isn't one of the two or three best receivers in the game, but he's far better than the No. 97 ranking PFF gave him. He's already caught more passes (260) than any other player in NFL history during their first three seasons.