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Top Bengals Stories Of 2011 No. 3: Bengals Draft A.J. Green, Andy Dalton

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The Bengals 2010 season was a hot mess. They were one of the most underachieving teams in the league, being one year removed from a division championship, and had earned the No. 4 pick in the 2011 draft. In the weeks before the draft, rumors circulated about which player the Bengals would select. Most believed they would take A.J. Green, the talented wide receiver out of Georgia, due to the fact that Chad Ochocinco wasn't getting things done, but some believed that they may go after a quarterback, like Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton if they were available because of Carson Palmer's trade demand.

Well Cam Newton went to the Panthers with the No. 1 overall pick and when the Bengals went on the board, they did what most figured they would do -- with the No. 4 overall pick, the Cincinnati Bengals selected A.J. Green. Then early in the second round, the Bengals selected who would become Carson Palmer's replacement, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.

After Green was drafted, the Bengals traded Ochocinco to the Patriots, which set Green up as the team's No. 1 receiver, and Dalton became the first rookie quarterback to start the first game of the season for the Bengals since 1969. Green has become the first rookie receiver to have a 1,000-yard season since 2006, has broken the franchise record for receiving yards for a rookie and has been elected to the pro bowl. Dalton and Newton are tied at 20 touchdowns on the season and even though Newton has more yards and a higher passer rating, Dalton has thrown less interceptions and has set his team up in a position to play for a spot in the pro bowl in Week 17.

The Bengals may not make it to the playoffs in 2011 but what Dalton and Green have done this season is nothing short of amazing. Both have shown that they have what it takes to lead the Bengals as franchise players that can lead this team into the playoffs and beyond.

The Bengals have an exciting future ahead of them.