The Pro Bowl Draft has concluded, and we now know which teams the Bengals' seven representatives will be part of.
Playing for Team Rice, led by Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, will be Bengals running back and special teams ace Cedric Peerman.
As for Team Irvin, led by Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin, they will have defensive end Carlos Dunlap, tight end Tyler Eifert, receiver A.J. Green, defensive tackle Geno Atkins, cornerback Adam Jones and left tackle Andrew Whitworth. That means six Bengals will be on the same team, while Peerman will be Team Rice's lone Bengal.
On Tuesday, Team Rice and Team Irvin selected 17 players per team, before the draft started. That group consisted of offensive lineman, interior defensive linemen, inside linebackers and special teams. Team Rice took Peerman, while Team Irvin took Whitworth. Atkins was previously named a player captain for Team Irvin.
Green, who was taken with Team Irvin's sixth overall selection, just wrapped up his fifth season that led to his fifth trip to the Pro Bowl. He caught 86 passes for 1,297 yards (15.1 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns. It was the fifth straight season in which Green topped the 1,000-yard mark.
Only one other wideout in NFL history had previously accomplished that feat, and that's Randy Moss. It seemed appropriate that Irvin drafted Green after calling the Bengals receiver one of the game's best and someone who could make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Atkins, now in his sixth NFL season, is back in the game for a fourth time after making it last season as an alternate. While it's debatable as to whether he deserved even an alternate selection last season, there was no debating his selection this season, as evidenced by him being a captain.
Not only was Atkins one of the best defensive lineman in football this past season, but was also worthy of Defensive Player of the Year consideration. In 16 games, Atkins racked up 11 sacks--the second highest single-season total in his career. He also had 42 total tackles and a forced fumble while being a big reason why the Bengals ranked No. 2 in scoring defense and fifth in opponent passer rating (78.9).
As for Whitworth, he was once again one of the NFL's premier left tackles and blindside protectors, not to mention a big reason for Andy Dalton's best season as a pro and Cincy's No. 8 ranking in sacks allowed this year. The Bengals' team passer rating of 104.1, good for No. 2 in the NFL, also helped show the kind of impact Whit made while locking down the left side of the offensive line.
Dunlap, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl with Team Irvin's 15th pick as an alternate for Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, just completed his sixth NFL season while becoming one of the league's best defensive ends. He finished 2015 with a career-high 13.5 sacks to go with 55 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Those 13.5 QB sacks were also a team-high and the fourth most of any NFL player this season.
2015 was a record-breaking year for Dunlap, who officially passed Eddie Edwards as the team's single-season sack leader. Edwards set the franchise mark back in 1983 with 13. Dunlap also passed Edwards as the franchise's all-time leader in sacks at 49. Coy Bacon's single-season mark of 22 sacks is actually the record, but came before sacks were an officially tracked NFL stat.
Eifert, now in his third NFL season, has made the Pro Bowl for the first time after Team Irvin took him with their 13th pick. His 12 touchdown catches led the NFL through Week 12, but after seeing limited action in the last four games due to injuries, he finished with just 13 scores. That was still a team record for TDs by a tight end (previously nine).
Jones, who was taken with Team Irvin's 20th overall pick, is in the Pro Bowl for the first time in his 11-year (9 season) career. Appearing in 14 games this season, Jones racked up 62 total tackles, 12 pass deflections and three interceptions this season. He was the Bengals' No. 1 corner and someone who routinely locked down opposing receivers on the boundary. He was a big reason why the Bengals ranked fourth in passing yards allowed per pass attempt (6.6), ranked fifth in opponent passer rating (78.9) and allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes (18).
Peerman, who made the game as an injury alternate for Patriots receiver Matthew Slater, was one again a difference-maker on the Bengals special teams unit this past season. He notched a team-high 17 special teams tackles (13 solo tackles) and downed several punts. He's quietly established himself as one of football's top gunners and someone who makes Cincy's special teams one of the league's best units.
Also being selected to this year's Pro Bowl was free safety Reggie Nelson, but was replaced by Reshad Jones due to an injury. Dalton would have made the game as an alternate, but declined his invitation due to his thumb injury.
Here's a recap of which teams the Bengals' Pro Bowlers will be part of:
DT Geno Atkins
WR A.J. Green
OT Andrew Whitworth
TE Tyler Eifert
DE Carlos Dunlap (replaces Muhammad Wilkerson)
CB Adam Jones (replaces Patrick Peterson)
ST Cedric Peerman (replaces Matthew Slater)
|Team Rice||Team Irvin|
|Odell Beckham, Jr.
|John Kuhn||FB||Patrick DiMarco|
|Josh Brown||K||Dan Bailey|
|Johnny Hekker||P||Sam Koch|
|Tyler Lockett||KR||Darren Sproles|
|Cedric Peerman||ST||Justin Bethel|